Region 10:09 31/10/2015

Famous human rights defender Leyla Yunus – detained in Azerbaijan – wins Battle of Crete Award for courage

Azerbaijani human rights defender Leyla Yunus became the winner of the Battle of Crete Award-2015 by OXI DAY foundation for her courage to promote freedom and democracy, Turan information agency reports.

“We believe that you, like Aung San Suu Kyi - our 2012 Battle of Crete Award Winner - are a great example of such courage today. You have been nominated by the President of the National Endowment for Democracy, Carl Gershman, to receive this award. We certainly hope that the world's attention to you and your husband's unlawful detention brings an end to it and that you and he can attend this banquet in person,” the foundation said in a statement.

Dinara Yunus, the daughter of Leyla Yunus and her husband Arif, received the award on 28 October.

Turan notes that the Oxi Day Battle of Crete Award is given each year to a woman who has taken courageous action in an effort to protect, promote or acquire freedom and democracy. The award is inspired by the women of Crete, Greece, who showed tremendous courage in joining the fight against the invading Nazi forces in the World War II Battle of Crete as thousands of Nazi paratroopers descended on the island on May 20, 1941.

On 13 August 2015, Baku Court of Grave Crimes brought in a verdict against the Azerbaijani human rights defenders Leyla and Arif Yunus, sentencing them to 8.5 years and 7 years’ imprisonment respectively. On 6 August 2015, during Leyla and Arif Yunus trial in Baku Court of Grave Crimes, prosecutor Farid Nagiyev called on the court to sentence Leyla Yunus to 11 years’ imprisonment and her husband 9 years finding guilty of swindle, tax evasion and abuses.

In 2014, Francois Hollande, the French President, met Leyla Yunus in Baku and awarded her with the Order of the Legion of Honor. Later, on 30 July, Yunus was arrested in the yard of her house. She was charged with high treason, tax evasion, illegal entrepreneurship, forgery and large-scale fraud. In January, media reported that the German doctor Christian Vitt confirmed that the arrested human rights defender suffered from a serious disease. However, in February 2015, Azerbaijani Nasimi District Court extended Leyla Yunus’ pretrial detention for five months. He husband, Arif Yunusov, also faces charges of high treason and large-scale fraud.

Related:
Azerbaijan detained conflictologist Yunus - husband arrested human rights activist Leyla Yunus



Source Panorama.am
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