Conviction of Human Rights Activists Leyla Yunus and Arif Yunus in Azerbaijan

Press Statement
John Kirby
Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC
August 13, 2015


The United States is deeply troubled by today’s decision of an Azerbaijani court to sentence human rights and peace advocates Leyla and Arif Yunus, who have been detained for more than a year, to eight-and-a-half and seven-year prison terms, respectively. The charges appear to be solely connected with their human rights work and participation in constructive people-to-people programs aiming to ease tensions and build confidence in the region. We are further troubled by reports of irregularities during the judicial process. We are particularly concerned about their health, and we urge the authorities to release them immediately on compassionate grounds. It is in Azerbaijan’s interest to meet its international commitments to uphold the universal rights of all its citizens, a critical step toward achieving a bright, prosperous, and stable future.