Ruling to replace Arif Yunus’ prison sentence with “own recognizance” release
On November 12, Baku Court of Appeal, chaired by judge Vugar Mammadov, heard another hearing on the case of the human rights defenders Leyla Yunus and Arif Yunus.
The judge announced that the court had received a letter from the Chief Medical Office of the Ministry of Justice stating that Arif Yunus had been taken to the Treatment Facility of the Ministry of Justice after his blood pressure had risen to 234 at the Ministry of National Security detention facility. The Ministry of Justice noted that Arif Yunus’ condition means he cannot be held in detention. The judge announced that the court would decide whether to keep Arif Yunus in prison or not.
The public prosecutor argued that the Ministry’s letter was not sufficient grounds for release.
Arif Yunus’ lawyer Afgan Mammadov told the court that his client’s health was very poor and that he ought to be released.
Lawyer Elchin Sadigov supported backed Afgan Mammadov’s argument and added that Leyla Yunus should also be released, as her condition was also very serious.
The court decided to replace Arif Yunus’ prison sentence with “own recognizance” release as per Article 165 of the Penal Code. He was released from the court building only after those attending the hearing had left.
Taking into account the possibility of an appeal against the preliminary hearing, the court set the next hearing for December 7, at 15.00.
B a c k g r o u n d:
Leyla and Arif Yunus were arrested in late July and early August 2014. Leyla Yunus was charged under articles 178.3.2 (large scale fraud), 192.2.2 (illegal entrepreneurship), 213.2.2 (tax evasion), 274 (treason), 320.1 and 320.2 (falsification of documents) of the Criminal Code. Arif Yunus was charged under articles 178.3.2 (large scale fraud) and 274 (treason).
The prosecuting authority subsequently split their case to investigate the treason charge separately. Leyla and Arif Yunus were sentenced to 8.5 and 7 years in jail respectively by Baku Grave Crimes Court on August 13, 2015. Amnesty International has recognized Leyla and Arif Yunus as prisoners of conscience.