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  4. REPUBLIC OF AZERBAIJAN: LEYLA YUNUS DENIED LAWYERS OF HER CHOICE

REPUBLIC OF AZERBAIJAN:
LEYLA YUNUS DENIED LAWYERS OF HER CHOICE

Update info:
18 Nov 2014 (Updated)
Latest info:
8 Oct 2014
Country:
REPUBLIC OF AZERBAIJAN
Subject:
Leyla Yunus (f), Arif Yunus (m), Javad Javadov (m), ...
Gender: both
Period:
23 Dec 2014
Distribution date:
18 Nov 2014
UA No:
182/2014

Two main lawyers representing Azerbaijani human rights defender and prisoner of conscience Leyla Yunus have been removed from her case, while the third lawyer is facing criminal charges of libel apparently in retaliation for representing her.

On 29 October Javad Javadov, a lawyer who has been representing Leyla Yunus since her arrest on 30 July was removed from the case, shortly after he highlighted the procedural shortcomings and other fair trial violations in the ongoing judicial process. On 5 November Khalid Bagirov, the second main lawyer representing Leyla Yunus, was also banned from defending her. Both lawyers, despite having only professional involvement in the case, were summoned as witnesses by the prosecutor, following which they were refused access to Leyla Yunus and were informed that they were removed from the case because of a purported conflict of interest. They were not given any official explanation of this decision. Another lawyer who was acting for Leyla Yunus, Alayif Huseynov, has been charged with criminal libel by her former cellmate after he publicized allegations she had made about being threatened and ill-treated in prison during her detention.

The removal of the three principal lawyers amount to a violation of her right to be represented by a lawyer of her choice, which is an essential element of the right to fair trial. Amnesty International has previously documented cases in Azerbaijan where lawyers have been threatened, disbarred and pursued with politically-motivated disciplinary and criminal sanctions for representing opposition leaders and government critics.

Leyla Yunus was arrested on 30 July on trumped-up charges of treason and other crimes. Her husband Arif Yunus was arrested on 5 August on similar charges. Amnesty International considers that Leyla and Artif Yunis are both prisoners of conscience.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Leyla Yunus is the President of the Azerbaijani NGO, the Institute for Peace and Democracy. She was arrested on 30 July 2014 on the charges of treason (purportedly spying for Armenia), tax evasion, forgery, fraud, and illegal business in relation to a grant received by her NGO which she had been prevented by the authorities from registering. Her husband, Arif Yunus, was arrested on 5 August. Arif Yunus is also facing criminal charges of treason, tax evasion and fraud in connection with his involvement in the activities of the Institute for Peace and Democracy.

Name: Leyla Yunus (f), Arif Yunus (m), Javad Javadov (m), Khalid Bagirov (m), Alayif Huseynov (m)

Gender m/f: both

Further information on UA: 182/14 Index: EUR 55/021/2014 Issue Date: 11 November 2014

Take action

Please write immediately in Azeri, English, Russian or your own language:

  • Calling on the authorities to release Leyla Yunus and Arif Yunus, immediately and unconditionally;
  • Expressing concern that Leyla Yunus has been denied the right to be defended by lawyers of her choice, which is an essential element of the right to fair trial;
  • Insisting on full respect for, and protection of, the right to freedom of expression in Azerbaijan.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 23 DECEMBER 2014 TO:
President
Ilham Aliyev
Office of the President of Azerbaijan
19 Istiqlaliyyat Street
Baku AZ1066, Azerbaijan
Fax: + 994 12 492 0625
Email: office@pa.gov.az
Salutation: Dear President Aliyev

Prosecutor General
Zakir Qaralov
Office of the Prosecutor General
7 Rafibeyli Street
Baku AZ1001, Azerbaijan
Email: info@prosecutor.gov.az
Salutation: Dear Prosecutor General

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.