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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Criminal Charges Against Institute for Peace and Democracy Director Leyla Yunus in Azerbaijan


Press Statement
Marie Harf
Deputy Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
July 31, 2014

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The criminal charges levied against prominent human rights defender Leyla Yunus and her husband Arif Yunus on July 30 are deeply concerning and represent a further restriction on peaceful civil society activities in Azerbaijan. Ms. Yunus is being held in pre-trial detention despite a serious health condition. Mr. Yunus also has a serious health problem and is under house arrest. These charges appear to be connected with their participation in constructive people-to-people programs that aim to ease tensions and build confidence in the region. We urge the Government of Azerbaijan to respect the universal rights of its citizens, ensure they are afforded all the fair trial guarantees to which all citizens are entitled, and allow them to freely express their views in accordance with international human rights commitments and obligations.

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