Arif and Leyla Yunus Appeal to Lift Travel Ban Imposed on Them


February 19, 2016

Human rights defenders Leyla and Arif Yunus have appealed the Yasamal District Court’s February 11, 2016 decision, which denied them permission to leave the country for a temporary period to receive medical treatment. According to their lawyer Elchin Sadigov, the appeal was submitted to the court on February 19.


Leyla and Arif Yunus were arrested in 2014. They were charged with treason, fraud, tax evasion, illegal business, falsification of documents and deliberate use of falsified documents. On June 23, 2015, the criminal case against Leyla and Arif Yunus was separated, in order to investigate the treason charges in separate proceedings. Following their trial on the remaining economic offences, Leyla and Arif Yunus were convicted by Baku Grave Crimes Court on August 13, 2015, and sentenced to 8.5 and 7 years in prison respectively. The court also ordered the confiscation their property, and for the funds in their bank accounts to be transferred to the state treasury. On November 12, 2015, the Baku Court of Appeal released Arif Yunus on recognizance not to leave the country. On December 9, 2015, the court commuted the Yunus’ jail sentences to suspended sentences with 5-year probation, and Leyla Yunus was also released. Leyla Yunus suffers from chronic hepatitis, arterial hypertension and diabetes, while Arif Yunus from severe arterial hypertension. 


Sadigov reported that they have appealed against the Yasamal District Court’s decision, on the ground that it is unlawful. He emphasized that refusing to allow people suffering from serious illnesses to travel abroad for treatment is contrary to Article 3 (prohibition of torture) of the European Convention on Human Rights. 


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