17 October 2014

Leyla Yunus 599X350

Leyla Yunus receiving France's prestigious Legion of Honor Award

The ICBL-CMC has issued a letter to EU Parliamentarians supporting the nominatation of imprisoned Human Rights defender and ICBL member, Leyla Yusuf, for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The Sakharov Prize is intended to honour exceptional individuals who combat intolerance, fanaticism and oppression and is awarded each year by the European Parliament on 23 October.

Leyla Yusuf and her husband Arif were arrested by Azerbaijani authorities nearly three months ago (see 8 August story) and have been in pre-trial detention since then, based on what Human Rights Watch has called "bogus charges" intended to silence the Director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy.

ICBL-CMC continues to call on the Azerbaijani authorities for the immediate and unconditional release of Yunus and her husband, both of whom are in fragile health.

Their daughter, Dinara Yunus, has said she fears for their physical safety in detention. "I am afraid…afraid that tomorrow I will wake up and read in the news that my mum Leyla Yunus was beaten to death in prison and that my dad Arif Yunus had a heart attack. My mum and dad need protection today, because tomorrow it may be too late..."

International humanitarian partners, the Council of Europe and most recently, the US State Department, have expressed alarm at their arrest and detention and concern for their care.