Prominent Azerbaijani human rights activist Leyla Yunus is facing detention again after she refused to go to the Prosecutor's Office today for renewed questioning in an ongoing criminal investigation against her.
Instead, Yunus appealed to the public for support in order "to prevent the authorities from arresting her." as she wrote in her statement. The Office of the Prosecutor General claims that Yunus was officially summoned for the questioning, but she refused to comply. Officials threatened to detain her by force in case she continues to ignore the summons.
In response to the "continued harassment" of Leyla and Arif Yunus in Azerbaijan, Senator Ben Cardin (MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) made the following statement in Washington:
“I am concerned about the investigation into Leyla Yunus and her husband, Arif Yunus, by the Government of Azerbaijan. Their detention, the search of their home and their continued inability to freely travel to and from Azerbaijan is a troubling indication that they may become the targets of a politically-motivated prosecution. I strongly urge the Government of Azerbaijan to abide by its commitment to the rule of law and due process.”
Azerbaijani human rights activist Leyla Yunus has been released from detention by authorities after she was questioned by investigators and her Baku-based Peace and Democracy Institute offices were searched on April 29.
The prosecutor-general's office in Azerbaijani capital said Yunus and her husband Arif Yunus were detained on April 28 in Baku airport because they "tried to flee the country" after being summoned as witnesses in a criminal case.
She was released the next day.
The prosecutor-general's statement, issued on April 30, did not elaborate on the criminal case. Nonetheless, it said the criminal investigation is continuing.
says investigators asked her about her ties with journalist Rauf Mirqadirov, who is currently in pretrial detention on charges of spying for Armenia.
Yunus has been actively involved for years in people-to-people diplomacy with Armenian rights activists.