MOSCOW, December 27 (Sputnik) — The United States is "deeply disturbed" by reports of Azerbaijani prosecutors raiding the offices of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), US State Department said Saturday.
"We are deeply disturbed by reports that employees of the RFE/RL bureau in Baku have been detained in their offices and questioned while the premises were searched by police," a statement by the US State Department said.
The US Department of State called on "the responsible authorities to respect Azerbaijan's international commitment to protecting media freedom," stating that the nation's well-being depended on free and independent press.
On December 26, Azerbaijani prosecutors raided the Baku offices of RFE/RL, a US-funded organization, in accordance with the state's court decision. According to Azerbaijani authorities, the raid was carried out as a part of an investigation into the local office of RFE/RL's service "as a foreign-funded entity." The state prosecutors are probing into foreign-funded NGOs and media sources suspecting massive tax fraud.