Mr. President Aliyev,
We are concerned about the ongoing persecution of human rights activists, the founders of the Institute for Peace and Democracy in Azerbaijan Leyla and Arif Yunusov.
We know, from a reliable source, that their right to free movement is being limited. On 28 April, the human rights activists were arrested at the airport, they were going to take a fly to attend an international conference. Leyla Yunusova was kept under police surveillance for 26 hours. Police actions can be described as cruel and degrading treatment contrary to Articles 3 and 5 of the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Their passports were illegally confiscated, their home and office were raided, access to their personal bank accounts is blocked, they are under a total control; the pressure extends to their families and staff of the Institute for Peace and Democracy. All application to the Court for the restoration of law and their rights are rejected.
These illegal actions have led to a deterioration of health of Leyla and Arif Yunusov. Moreover, lack of access to bank accounts is limiting their right to health care. All of this is causing an irreversible harm to their health and is threatening their lives. On 28 April 2014, Arif Yunusov was taken to the intensive care unit. He spent three weeks in hospital and still is in need of outpatient treatment. Leyla Yunusova suffers from diabetes.
Persecution of human rights activists violates the rules of law and morality. The Yunusovs did not breach the law, they were not charged with any crime.
We regard their persecution as a revenge for their human rights activism.
On 30 May 2014, a threat to arrest Leyla Yunusova was renewed. The press service of the Prosecutor General's Office issued an unfounded statement that Yunusov is supposedly hindering the investigators. She fears criminal prosecution.
We urge you, as a guarantor of human rights and freedoms in Azerbaijan, to do everything to stop the arbitrariness of law enforcement agencies.
We call upon you to treat this appeal with all seriousness.
poet, member of the International PEN Club, Austria
President of the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia, France
Representative of the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia, Uzbekistan
representative of the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia, Russia
representative of the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia, USA
President of the Public Fund "Ar.Rukh.Khak" Kazakhstan
Human Rights Movement "Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan"
freelance journalist from Kazakhstan
President of the Public Fund "Liberty", Kazakhstan
human rights activist, USA
Leila Nazgul Seiitbek,
member of Association for Human Rights in Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan
member of the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia, USA
human rights activist, Uzbekistan
political scientist, United States
ex-owner of Mezon-TV, Co-Chairman of NGO Fund "Our Children"
the City of Osh Kyrgyz Republic, Switzerland
Chairman of the Democratic Forum of Uzbekistan,
Member of the Central Council of the "Birlik", Sweden
Uzbek documentary filmmaker and photographer
member of the Union of Cinematographers of Uzbekistan
and the National Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan
President of the Center for National and International Studies
The Caucasus Institute for Peace, Democracy and Development, Georgia
freelance writer, journalist and screenwriter.
Winner of a journalism award «Media açar?» 2004 and 2009. Azerbaijan
President of the European Association of Ukrainians
Representative of the People's Movement "Alga Karakalpakstan," the Republic of Karakalpakstan
member of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan - PAHs, Netherlands
sociologist, Independent Consultant for Central Asia expert of the Association "Human Rights in Central Asia", Denmark
Chairman of the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan "Ezgulik", Uzbekistan
member of the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan, Ireland
Chairman of Public Association "Perspective +" Tajikistan
Researcher at the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London, UK
representative of the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan, Switzerland
freelance journalist, editor of the "Registan" supplement of the "Vancouver Express", Canada
Director of the Human Rights Centre "Justice, Truth", Kyrgyzstan
political scientist, France
leader of the opposition, "G-24", Tajikistan
leader of the opposition movement "Vatandor" Tajikistan
freelance journalist, Switzerland
President of the Center for Democracy and Human Rights, Russia
Society for Harmonious Development of Human, Georgia
President of the Association of Friendship Temurids France
Center for the Protection of Human Rights "Kylym Shamy", Kyrgyzstan
Chairman of the Democratic Civil Union of Turkmenistan