WASHINGTON, DC—Representative Eliot L. Engel, the leading Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement regarding the raid by the government of Azerbaijan on the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty bureau in Baku and the interrogation of RFE/RL employees:

“I’m deeply troubled by the recent actions against RFE/RL and its personnel by the government of Azerbaijan. Freedom of the press is a cornerstone of democracy, and for generations RFE/RL has been a source of reliable, unbiased news and information across Europe. With the RFE/RL Baku bureau sealed shut by government officials, that source has been silenced and that freedom is under assault.

"Azerbaijan is a strategically important country bordering Russia and Iran and a key provider of energy resources. Continuing these actions will serve only to undermine democracy in Azerbaijan. I urge leaders in Baku to allow RFE/RL to resume its work and to stop harassment of RFE/RL employees.”