Human rights defender Leyla Yunus’ home and office searched

April 29th, 2014

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On April 29, an investigator and several other employees from the Serious Crimes Investigation Department of the General Prosecutor’s Office conducted search in the office of Leyla Yunus, director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy. They took away all the computers, Arif Yunus’ books, different print materials and materials from conferences attended by the Yunus.

Following the office, Leyla Yunus’ home was also searched. Several documents and print materials were seized. There were no computers in the house. Leyla and Arif Yunus’ personal computers were confiscated yesterday, upon detention in the airport and the search carried out in their office today.

Speaking to IRFS after the search, the human rights defender’s lawyer Khalid Bagirov said that Leyla Yunus was questioned as a witness and leaving the country was not prohibited to her.

Bagirov added that Leyla Yunus’ international passport was illegally confiscated and that they were going to use all legal means to retrieve it.

“Arif Yunus is not involved in this. He is not even a witness. He is being treated in the hospital for health problems,” Bagirov said.

According to the Press Service of the Prosecutor General’s Office, chairwoman of the Baku-based unregistered entity called “Institute for Peace and Democracy” and expert of this institute Arif Yunusov are intended to be questioned as witnesses because of the necessity arisen in connection with a concrete criminal case investigated by the Serious Crimes Investigation Department.

“In accordance with the requirements of criminal procedure legislation, summons was delivered to them in order to question them on the case, and they were repeatedly contacted through the phone, but both of them without any serious excuse tried to avoid the investigation. Arif Yunusov was admitted into a hospital with diagnosis “3rd level Hypertonia disease, hypertonic crisis” on April 25, but although he was discharged on April 28, he did not go to give statement, and tried to withdraw a big amount of money from one of the banks. On April 28, Leyla and Arif Yunusov were detained at the Heydar Aliyev airport at about 11:00 pm and prevented from avoidance of investigation when they wanted to fly to one of the European countries with Baku-Doha flight and leave the country forever with help of foreign embassy employees. On the decision of the Yasamal District Court, their private luggage was searched, some documents and things important to the case were found, also documents of the Leyla Yunus’ overseas properties, data storage media and other documents were revealed and seized as evidence. Furthermore, based on the same decision their place of living and work was also searched”, noted the report of the General Prosecutor’s Office.

Note that Leyla Yunus and her spouse Arif Yunus were detained at airport while flying to Doha on April 28.