Leyla Yunus released on probation in Azerbaijan

Human Rights Defender Leyla Yunus has been released on five-years’ probation. This follows a request by her lawyers for her to be freed due to her deteriorating health condition.

“We welcome this great news and hope it is the beginning of a move by the authorities to free all human rights defenders imprisoned for their work in Azerbaijan. Leyla and her husband Arif Yunus were targeted for political reasons – to silence them – as were many others. They have been released from prison and so should the others be released,” reacted Ane Tusvik Bonde, Regional Manager for Eastern Europe and Caucasus at Human Rights House Network (HRHN).

Arif Yunus was released from prison on 12 November 2015 due to his deteriorating health.

Human rights defenders Intigam Aliyev, Rasul Jafarov, Khadija Ismayil, Anar Mammadli, and many others remain in prison. Human Rights House Network calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to extend this release to all imprisoned human rights defenders in the country. And for the international community to continue their work until all human rights defenders are freed.

Leyla and her husband Arif Yunus were arrested in July 2014, and in August 2015 they were sentenced to many years in prison. They are long-time civil society actors. Their sentencing was a symbol of the targeted repression against leading civil society voices in Azerbaijan since the presidential election of October 2013.

Leyla Yunus has a number of serious health conditions, including diabetes and medical problems related to her kidneys. She has been denied adequate medical treatment in prison.

The couple’s legal situation remains unchanged, despite them being released.

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