The following press release was issued by the EEAS on .
The arrest of Natiq Jafarli, the Executive Secretary of the REAL party in Azerbaijan, comes just six weeks ahead of the referendum on constitutional amendments that his party opposes and campaigns against. His arrest and placement into pre-trial detention of four months come on top of worrying reports of additional arrests of people involved in campaigning.
In the constitutional referendum of 26 September, the people of Azerbaijan are due to vote on changes to the legal framework for the political administration of the country. The debate leading to it should be inclusive and pluralistic. Seeking an opinion on the changes by expert institutions, such as the Venice Commission, is also crucial.