NEWS
Azerbaijan: Prosecutors seeking long sentences for Leyla and Arif Yunus

"The world must not turn a blind eye to the ongoing persecution of civil society acitivsts and investigative journalists at the hands of President Ilham Aliyev's government"

06 Aug 2015
BY INDEX ON CENSORSHIP
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Prosecutors in the case against Leyla Yunus and Arif Yunus have asked the court to sentence the couple to 11 and 9 years respectively, Radio Free Europe reported. It is the latest in a series of moves by the government of Azerbaijan to silence those who have been calling for more freedom and democracy in the country.

The couple face spurious charges of treason, fraud and forgery.

“The world must not turn a blind eye to the ongoing persecution of civil society activists and investigative journalists at the hands of President Ilham Aliyev’s government. The international community must pressure the government to end its attack on civil society and respect international human rights standards,” Melody Patry, senior advocacy officer at Index on Censorship said.


 

Azerbaijan: Silencing human rights

Ongoing coverage of the crackdown on civil society by the government of President Ilham Aliyev


In her role as director of the Peace and Democracy Institute, Leyla Yunus sought to build bridges with Armenian human rights organisation in an attempt to defuse tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Her husband Arif is a historian and researcher who focused on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Armenia.

The Yunus’ trial began on 27 July 2015, nearly a year after they were taken into custody days apart from each other. The couple are set to return to court on 10 August. Today marks a year and a day since the arrest of Arif Yunus on 5 August 2014. Leyla Yunus was arrested on 30 July 2014.

Earlier this week, an appeals court confirmed the six year and three month sentence that was slapped on pro-democracy activist Rasul Jafarov in April 2015.

Investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova, who exposed corruption associated with the family of Ilham Aliyev, faces a continuation of her trial on 7 Aug. Journalists and observers were barred from the last court session on 24 July. Ismayilova won the US National Press Club‘s highest award on 29 July.

This article was posted on 6 August 2015 at indexoncensorship.org

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