Law 20:19 05/05/2014

EU condemns arrest of Azerbaijani journalist Rauf Mirkadirov and persecutions towards human rights defender Leyla Yunus

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton and EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule issued a joint statement condemning the arrest of Azerbaijani journalist Rauf Mirkadirov and pressure exercised on human rights activist Leyla Yunus and her husband. The statement is posted on the EU’s website.

“The High Representative and Commissioner are deeply concerned to note the detention on 19 April of Rauf Mirkadirov and the circumstances of the interrogation on 29 April of Arif Yunus and Leyla Yunus, well known human rights defenders in Azerbaijan,” the joint statement reads.

They note that steps taken by the Azerbaijani authorities in recent weeks seem to target Civil Society activists, who are campaigning for respect for human rights, rule of law and fundamental freedoms in Azerbaijan as well as for a people-to-people dialogue as an essential component of reconciliation and conflict resolution.

The EU urges the government of Azerbaijan to honor the obligations and commitments Azerbaijan subscribed to as a member of the Council of Europe and to act upon the recommendations of the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, in his recently published report on Azerbaijan.

Note that earlier Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe, Nils Muiznieks, U.S. State Department, the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan and human rights organizations, such as the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Human Rights Watch, Freedom House and the International Federation of Human Rights Organizations (FIDH) have condemned the detention of human rights activist Leyla Yunus in Baku.

As it is stated in Azerbaijani news agency Turan, on Saturday the session of the National Council of Democratic Forces took place, during which the NC chairman Jamil Hasanli said that NC would do everything possible to protect Yunus and other civil society activists.

Leyla Yunus as well gave a speech at the session. She informed the members of National Council that a political campaign was launched against her which involved law enforcement bodies. Yunus regarded the investigation against her as political farce and lawlessness. Human Rights activist said that the people who cooperate with her are suppressed because the Azerbaijani authorities want to fabricate the case.

The news agency as well notes that on Sunday afternoon the apartment of arrested journalist Rauf Mirkadirov in Ankara, where his wife and children live was searched by Turkish security services. The journalist’s wife Adelya Babakhanova said that eleven people came to the apartment. She was informed that the search was being conducted by the request of Azerbaijani authorities. In the course of the search a number of documents and electronic data carriers, including the tablet of Mirkadirov’s daughter were confiscated. After that the representative of Azerbaijani embassy arrived and started to ask Mirkadirov’s wife about the activities of her husband.

When the search was over, Adelya Babakhanova was invited to the embassy of Azerbaijan. The questioning of journalist’s wife lasted for about five hours in the building of embassy. The lawyer was not present in the process. During all this time her young daughter was with her. Babakhanova refused to sign the protocol of interrogation demanding a lawyer.

Note that in the evening of April 28 in the airport of Baku while departing to Doha famous Azerbaijani human rights activist Leyla Yunus and her husband conflictologist Arif Yunus were detained. They intended to fly to Paris, then to Brussels by the invitation of EU to participate in an international event. Leyla Yunus was taken to the Department of Grave Crimes of Azerbaijani Prosecutor General’s office for questioning, where she spent 9 hours. Her husband who was detained with her was hospitalized in pre-infarction condition. The search of Yunus’ apartment and IPD office was conducted. Earlier in Baku the journalist of Azerbaijani newspaper Zerkalo Rauf Mirkadirov was arrested. He was accused of conducting espionage for Armenia.



Source Panorama.am
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