HRW – Human Rights Watch (Author)
August 5, 2014 Update
On August 5, police arrested Arif Yunus while he was on his way to a pretrial detention facility in the capital, Baku, to deliver a food parcel to his imprisoned wife, Leyla Yunus, who suffers from a severe form of diabetes and requires special food at specific intervals. Earlier, Leyla Yunus's lawyer, Javad Javadov, told media that her health had significantly deteriorated in custody.
Arif Yunus was initially taken to the Yasamal district police department and then transferred to the Grave Crimes Investigation Unit at the Prosecutor General’s Office. Arif Yunus had been charged with treason and fraud on July 30, the same day Leyla Yunus was charged with treason, tax evasion, and two other offenses. While Leyla Yunus was sent to three-month pretrial custody, Arif was released under police supervision because of his poor health. On August 5, however, the prosecutor’s office accused Yunus of violating the terms of his house arrest, claiming he left his neighborhood without police permission, gave media interviews, and met with people who “were under criminal investigation or could be under criminal investigation.” The Nasimi District reviewed the remand hearing and changed his house arrest to three-month pretrial custody.
“Arif and Leyla Yunus should not be behind bars, period,” said Rachel Denber, deputy Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “All the circumstances surrounding the case make clear that the charges against them are completely bogus. Moreover they both have serious health problems. Azerbaijani authorities should immediately release them.”
Human Rights Watch said that until they are released, Azerbaijani authorities have an obligation to ensure that Leyla and Arif Yunus receive the medicines and medical care they require, in line with their duties towards those in their custody. “Prison authorities should ensure Leyla Yunus has access to the special foods and medicines she needs to control her diabetes,” Denber said. “Any harm that she suffers to her health whilst in detention is the direct responsibility of the Azerbaijani authorities, and they will be held accountable for it.”
5 August 2014 | HRW – Human Rights Watch (Author)
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