Leyla Yunus

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AZERBAIJAN / Detained July 30, 2014 – December 9, 2015


UPDATE: Leyla Yunus and her husband Arif Yunus were allowed to travel to the Netherlands on April 19, 2016 to receive medical care for their deteriorating health and to be reunited with their daughter. 

Leyla Yunus, director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy, was arrested for her involvement in projects aimed at improving people-to-people dialogue between intellectuals and community leaders in Azerbaijan and Armenia, against the background of the unresolved conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. She has been charged with treason and tax evasion. Her institute, founded in 1995, focused on combating politically motivated prosecutions, corruption, violence against women, and unlawful house evictions. She remains in pre-trial detention.

After a year of detention, Leyla’s first preliminary hearing was held on July 15th, 2015 in anticipation of his July 27th, 2015 trial. Although the judge denied her request to sit next to her lawyers or speak in her defense, she was able to briefly to speak with reporters during the break. She confirmed that she has been repeatedly beaten during detention and that she is suffering from multiple chronic diseases for which she cannot get adequate treatment in prison.

On December 9th, 2015 Leyla Yunus has been released on house arrest and five years’ parole.


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