Leyla Yunus considers herself a prisoner

Azerbaijani defender pursued for peaceful dialogue with “damned enemy” Armenia.

In an


originally published in Germany’s “Neues Deutschland” newspaper on July 11, 2014, correspondent Bernhard Clasen writes of his recent interview with human rights defender and outspoken government critique Leyla Yunus.

“Everyday I expect my arrest” said Yunus in her interview fearing for not only herself but also her husband Arif Yunus. “My husband Arif and I are prisoners of the special forces. They have taken away our passports […] It is difficult to live under such control […] not once I was threatened with violence from the employees of the law enforcement agency”.

The control and intimidation began in May, when Yunus was on her way to attend the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE in Brussels. She was stopped by the border control officers and prevented from boarding her flight.

Yunus is also involved in the field of public diplomacy, focusing on the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno Karabakh. For many years now, Leyla Yunus was involved in organizing of conferences and meetings with the counterparts from Armenia, creating space for reconciliation.

Today, many of track two diplomacy advocates are facing difficulties in Azerbaijan writes reporter. Rauf Mirkadirov’s


is case in point.

Leyla Yunus is the Director at the Institute for Peace and Democracy. For many years now, the institute documents human rights violations in Azerbaijan and shares these with the international communit





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