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Commissioner appalled by sentences against Leyla and Arif Yunus

Statement
Strasbourg 13/08/2015
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Commissioner appalled by sentences against Leyla and Arif Yunus

I am appalled and saddened by Baku Court’s decision to sentence Leyla and Arif Yunus to respectively 8 years and a half and 7 years of prison. These sentences are a glaring illustration of the ongoing repression in Azerbaijan, where human rights defenders are selectively targeted with criminal prosecutions on charges that defy credibility. In my intervention before the European Court of Human Rights last April I argued why Leyla and Arif, as well as other Azerbaijani human rights defenders should not be in prison. It is high time that the Azerbaijani authorities end the repression and show more attachment to the values of human rights, democracy and rule of law that they have committed to by joining the Council of Europe.