The fight of the ruling regime against dissent and defenders continue

APPEAL OF THE INSTITUTE OF PEACE AND DEMOCRACY

Yesterday, on July 30, 2014 the  Director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy (IPD), winner  of the Prize named after Teodora Hacker, Holder of the  Order of the French Legion,   a human rights activist Leyla Yunus at 11:45 left the house to go to a hearing on the drug trafficking situation, organized by the National Council of Democratic forces of Azerbaijan. However, as soon as she got in the car,  the car was immediately attacked by three men in plainclothes who took Leila Yunus in an unknown direction. Later it became known that she was forcibly taken away by the Office for Serious Crimes  of the Prosecutor General Office of the country.

At the same time a few minutes later  six  people in civilian clothes  break into an apartment  of Yunus, demanding that her husband Arif opened the door. Otherwise, they threatened to break the door and windows, and  to storm the apartment. He refused to open the door, and called lawyers and journalists, as well as representatives of diplomatic and international missions in the country and abroad. Soon he learned that  Leyla Yunus  was being interrogated without a lawyer, as her public defender lawyer Yusif Agayev is not a member of the Bar Association. It became clear that they indent to  convict Leyla Yunus without a lawyer. In order to  change the situation, Yunus with his lawyer Khalid Bagirov voluntarily went to the General Prosecutor, and there until  coming the second lawyer Javad Javadov,  Bagirov  temporarily  performed the role of a lawyer.

During the interrogation, the spouses were brought totally absurd, but serious accusations: allegedly  since 1992, but more actively since 2002  the Yunus family  conspired with representatives of Armenian secret service, and recruited agents for the Armenian intelligence, and passed  Armenia military secrets. These charges looked more  like articles from the pro-government media than the accusations of  professionals investigators. Indeed, in the role of “agent” and the Armenian intelligence officer was put Laura Baghdasaryan , journalist and head of the NGO Research Center “Region”, multi-year (2005) the partner of the Institute for Peace and Democracy for a peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict,  with  which Yunus established in 2012 a joint Azerbaijani-Armenian website (http://www.publicdialogues.info/). This  is a unique platform on the Internet, which holds e Internet-conferences, video bridges, discussions experts in various fields, not only from Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, USA, Europe. Moreover, due to the arrest on 19 April, 2014 Rauf Mirkadirov , a  Laureate International Prize Gerd Bucerius, honored journalist in Azerbaijan for participation in the activities of “people’s diplomacy”,  Leyla Yunus and Laura Baghdasaryan made ​ on ​April 25, 2014 a joint statement (

http://contact.az/docs/2014/Want%20to%20Say/042500076779ru.htm

).

Then Laura Baghdasaryan also publicly responded to all the absurd and ridiculous claims against her on the part of the Prosecutor General (

http://publicdialogues.info/node/768

).

Therefore, spouses Yunus categorically denied all charges against them, regarded them as absurd falsification, and individually stated that there is no investigation, there is an order for their arrest and the General Prosecutor’s Office investigators  are involved in it . Therefore,  based on constitutional law,  they refused to testify against themselves and their families.

After  interrogation lasting for six hours  at 18:10  serious charges were brought against  Leyla Yunus: under Articles 274 (high treason), 178.3.2 (fraud on a large scale), 192.2.2 (illegal business), 213.2.2 (evasion tax), 320.1 and 320.2 (falsification of documents), and  Arif Yunus  is changed under the  Articles 274 (treason) and 178.3.2 (fraud on a large scale) of the Criminal Code. These Articles are the most serious, for which the defendant faces up to 15 years to life imprisonment and, most importantly, the   trials  on  these items are closed to the public, and even relatives, during which as  it happens  often in  recent years, the court in Azerbaijan agrees with all unproven allegations  of investigation.

Thereafter, senior investigator for particularly important issues of the  Office for Serious Crimes Prosecutor General of Azerbaijan Ibrahim Lemberansky decided that Arif Yunus  dopted a decision that Arif Yunus recently had a hypertensive crisis, and  in his  respect preventive punishment  was transference under police surveillance. As for Leyla  Yunus, she was taken to Nasimi District Court, where at about 19:00 was decided  to – arrest  her for three months.

All this was a natural result of the struggle of the ruling criminal regime against dissidents and human rights defenders in particular. In this struggle, the Institute for Peace and Democracy  and personally Leyla Yunus  were  on the forefront, and  were  subjected to  persecution and repression. In 2009, after the publication of the specific facts of the participation of a number of senior officers of the Interior Ministry in  people trafficking,  Interior Minister Ramil Usubov sued against Leyla Yunus (claim was withdrawn after the start of an international campaign in defense of Yunus) , and the persecution of her family and close associates  began. As a result, at the same time  her daughter Dinara Yunus and employee  of the IPD, Javanshir Huseynov were forced to leave the country, and seek refuge in European countries.

In 2011, Yunus published a research on the mechanism of corruption in the illicit destruction in 2009-2011 owned by the residents of Baku. In her study, she pointed out exactly who and how committed criminal offenses, as a result of which more than 60,000 civilians were unlawfully deprived of their homes and apartments. On August 10, 2011 interview with her ​​on this subject was published in the “New York Times”,  and  on August 11, in the evening  her house in  which was an office IPD was bulldozed with all who are in it and the property documents (pictures you can see the demolition of houses in this video –

http://www.azadliq.org/content/article/24294298.html

).

Recently, the Azerbaijani authorities became particularly annoyed with  activity of the  IPD, and personally Yunus  who  work on the situation of political prisoners and her  peacekeeping  activity with the Armenian counterparts for a peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict. And it was all against the backdrop of the bellicose rhetoric of President Ilham Aliyev and his statements about the alleged lack of political prisoners in the country.

On January 15, 2014, President Ilham  Aliyev, speaking in Brussels, said  there are not political prisoners in Azerbaijan. After a week  L.Yunus  presented a list  of political prisoners and “prisoners of conscience” IPD, and  on April 15, 2014 posted on the  site of Turan agency  full list of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, with full data bank, evidence of wrongdoing brought against these civil charges. At the same IPD constantly updates the list of victims of political repression, which is always available in Russian and English on the website and on July 8, 2014 in this list 109 victims of political repression in Azerbaijan (

http://ft.contact.az/?p=14

).

On April 28, 2014  the  Yunus family was illegally detained  without a court order at the airport on departure to Brussels at the invitation of the European Endowment for Democracy. During the arrest their passports were taken away, and during a searched were seized computer and personal documents. While Arif  Yunus suffered a hypertensive crisis and was in intensive care hospital, Leyla  Yunus was subjected to 26-hours questioning! There were also attempts to put pressure on employees IPD. On May 1 and 2 to the Public Prosecutor summoned and interrogated for 8-10 hours Matanat Azizova, head of the Women’s Crisis Center, established IPD in 2001 and permanently in the house of Yunus.  They demanded from M.Azizova  to evidence  the espionage  activity of L.Yunus, otherwise threatened with arrest. On May 3 Azizova was forced to leave Azerbaijan. In response, on May 22 while trying to cross the Azerbaijani-Georgian border were stopped  her 18-year-old son Jamal and  husband  Eldar, and  were  banned from leaving Azerbaijan. Border guards referred to the Prosecutor’s Office order Azizovs family  are held as hostages.

But even after that the fight against the criminal regime continued. All this greatly irritated the authorities, especially the president. Because  Leyla  Yunus sent two open letters to president urging him to abandon  his  policy of repression, release all political prisoners, and start democratic reforms in the country. Here are the texts of these open letters:

Open letter to President Ilham Aliyev –

http://www.contact.az/docs/2014/Want%20to%20Say/062400082486ru.htm

2. Stop panicking, Mr. President! –

http://www.contact.az/docs/2014/Want%20to%20Say/073000085556ru.htm

The IPD headed by Leyla Yunus  started  simultaneously other  actions. On  June 9, 2014 on the basis of IPD  was established a Repression Resistance  Center, which on July 17 launched a campaign to organize a boycott of the European Olympic Games in Azerbaijan in 2015 (text of the statement – “Authoritarian countries are not for the Olympic Games” –

http://www.contact.az/docs/2014/Want%20to%20Say/072300085057ru.htm

).

This boycott campaign immediately caused serious concern and fear among the authorities of Azerbaijan, who have decided that it is time to stop Leyla Yunus and her work, hoping for a silent reaction of the Azerbaijani people and the international community, especially Western countries. Just this is an explanation  for  such a tough and unprecedented action to apprehend and arrest the couple Yunus. It is well known that 60-years-old  Leyla Yunus  is seriously ill,  she has  diabetes, and she needs not only medicines, but also specific food, but her stay in  jail is the right way to premature death of the  human rights activist.

But we want to say that IPD continues its activity. On the other hand, we believe that Azerbaijani people will not keep silent, will not be afraid of the authorities of the republic. Likewise, the international community will not take the position of the observer. We invite all who are committed to the ideals of democracy and freedom, rise up and bring about a change of government policy towards dissidents and human rights activists in Azerbaijan.

For our and your freedom!

Press service of the Institute for Peace and Democracy,

Baku, July 31, 2014

Source: http://contact.az/docs/2014/Want%20to%20Say/073100085603en.htm#.U9oSdah4wXw

Ana səhifəNewsThe fight of the ruling regime against dissent and defenders continue