DROP CHARGES AGAINST LEYLA AND ARIF YUNUS
***UPDATE: YUNUS RELEASED PENDING APPEAL HEARING
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
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.