Azerbaijan Jails human rights activists Leyla and Arif Yunus

Leyla and Arif Yunus, Azerbaijani human rights activists, that called for the boycott of the European Games, has been have given a lengthy prison sentences for fraud and tax evasion for crimes related to their NGO work. Leyla  was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison while Arif received a seven year sentence.


Both still face separate charges of treason, for allegedly spying for Armenia, which carries a life sentence.


Azerbaijan frequently jails activists, journalist or others who are critical of the government and the couple adamantly believes the case was politically motivated. Since 2003 the crackdown on opponents of the government has been extremely harsh and heavy handed.


Both Leyla and Arif are not in good health. Arif suffered two strokes and has a heart condition, Leyla has diabetes and hepatitis C.


Leyla has not received adequate medical care in prison and the authorities have refused to take  her to a hospital. She has reported being threatened, harassed and suffer ill-treatment anytime she has requested medical care.


Leyla is the director of a human rights organization founded in 1995, the Institute for Peace and Democracy, and Arif worked for reconciliation between Azerbaijan and Armenia.


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