German Human Rights Commissioner on sentencing of Leyla and Arif Yunus

Christoph Strässer, German Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement on the sentencing of Leyla and Arif Yunus.

“I am shocked by the disproportionately harsh sentences handed down to Leyla Yunus and Arif Yunusov, both of whom I know personally as important human rights defenders and prominent members of Azerbaijani civil society who campaign tirelessly for conciliation and dialogue. I also take a critical view of the prison sentences of eight-and a half and seven years, as it is known that both of the convicted are in poor health.

The Azerbaijani Government must finally cease its crackdown against prominent members of civil society. At the very least, Leyla Yunus and Arif Yunusov must be granted a fair appeal, as independent observers report that their trials were marred by considerable procedural irregularities. All imprisoned members of Azerbaijani civil society must be allowed a fair trial and the medical care they need in detention.

The German Government will continue to lobby the Azerbaijani Government for the release of Leyla Yunus, Arif Yunusov and other imprisoned members of Azerbaijani civil society”, - reads the statement. -02D-

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