Today, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, published his written observations submitted to the European Court of Human Rights on the case of Leyla and Arif Yunus. This is the last of five interventions published since February 2015 in which the Commissioner highlights systematic deficiencies in the area of freedom of expression and association in Azerbaijan, including retaliatory measures against critical voices in the country.
“The case of Leyla and Arif Yunus illustrates the pattern of repression that has emerged in Azerbaijan in recent years whereby human rights defenders are harassed through restrictive NGO legislation and selectively targeted with criminal prosecutions on charges that defy credibility.”
Third party interventions represent an additional tool at the Commissioner’s disposal to help promote and protect human rights. They are foreseen by the European Convention on Human Rights and are based on the Commissioner’s country and thematic activities. These observations do not include any comments on the facts or merits of the case, but provide objective and impartial information to the Court on aspects of concern to the Commissioner.
The Commissioner has visited Azerbaijan in November 2012, May 2013 and October 2014.