Bruxelles, 14/08/2015

Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini on the sentencing of Leyla and Arif Yunus, prominent Human Rights Defenders in Azerbaijan

On 13 August, human rights defenders Dr Leyla Yunus and Mr Arif Yunus were sentenced by the Baku Court for Grave Crimes to 8.5 and 7 years imprisonment respectively, on charges including fraud.

The legal process leading to these convictions was, as reported by the international monitors observing the trials, seriously flawed. The charges moreover seem to be connected solely to their human rights work. The sentencing confirms the negative trend when it comes to Azerbaijan's respect for its international commitments on human rights and fundamental freedoms.

We call on Azerbaijan to release Leyla and Arif Yunus, while their cases need to be reviewed in a transparent and fair process.