DROP CHARGES 
AGAINST LEYLA
AND ARIF YUNUS

“After 36 years of life together we’re in different cells in different prisons… most difficult of all is that you are not nearby.”

Leyla Yunus wrote this to her husband Arif from her jail cell. Act now and call for charges to be dropped against this courageous couple.

Call on Azerbaijani authorities to drop the charges!

DROP CHARGES AGAINST LEYLA AND ARIF YUNUS

***UPDATE: YUNUS RELEASED PENDING APPEAL HEARING

Azerbaijani prisoner of conscience Leyla Yunus was given a conditional release on December 9, and her husband Arif Yunus was released from jail on November 12 on medical grounds, pending an appeal hearing in the criminal case against him. Both face lengthy sentences. 

Leyla and Arif Yunus are of two of Azerbaijan’s most prominent human rights activists. They lead the Peace and Democracy Institute and have worked on a range of issues from freedom of expression to arms control to the rights of women and children. 

For a long time, the government used threats to try to silence Leyla and Arif. Then the government accused them of several crimes including treason and jailed them in 2014. In early August 2015, they were sentenced to 8.5 and 7 years respectively for fraud. Treason charges are still pending.  Amnesty International believes that all of the charges against them are trumped up. The authorities are harassing Leyla and Arif because of their human rights work.

Leyla and Arif are prisoners of conscience, jailed because they criticized the government of Azerbaijan. Though they have been released from prison, they remain under house arrest, and the charges against them have not been dropped. A recent Amnesty investigation found that at least 20 other people are in prison for exercising their right to free speech in Azerbaijan.

After 36 years of life together
we’re in different cells
in different prisons.

Amnesty campaigned for Leyla and Arif to be released. Both have chronic health conditions. Their health is deteriorating and both require urgent access to medicine and medical care.

Now that Leyla and Arif have been released from prison, we are campaigning for all charges against them to be dropped. Their release from prison is a step in the right direction. With your action you’re supporting the campaign to win their freedom. And you’re campaigning in support of all political prisoners in Azerbaijan.

 
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To President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev:

I am very concerned about the conviction and sentencing of human rights defenders Leyla and Arif Yunus for fraud. Amnesty International believes that these and additional charges of treason are trumped up and considers Leyla and Arif Yunus prisoners of conscience. Releasing them from prison is a step in the right direction. I urge you to quash the fraud conviction and drop all charges against them.

I call on the Azerbaijani government to respect and uphold the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly.

Yours sincerely,

  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 
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