Text of on-line petition -

Ilham Aliyev
19 Istiqlaliyyat Street
Baku AZ1066

Dear president,

I am requesting your attention to the case of Azerbaijani human rights defender Leyla Yunus and her husband Arif Yunus have been sentenced to eight-and-a-half and seven years in prison, respectively, on 13 August. International observers and journalists were refused entry to the court.

Both were convicted for “fraud” and other crimes related to their NGO work. Leyla Yunus is the director of the Institute of Peace and Democracy and before her arrest had been documenting the treatment of political prisoners in Azerbaijan by the authorities.

I believe the charges against the couple were clearly fabricated in retaliation to their legitimate human rights work and criticism of the Azerbaijani government.

With respect to the above-mentioned facts, I ask you to provide:

Immediately and unconditionally release Arif Yunus and Leyla Yunus as they are prisoners of conscience, imprisoned solely for their legitimate human rights work and criticism of the government;

Ensure that Arif Yunus and Leyla Yunus urgently receive all necessary medical treatment, and, pending their release, are transferred to hospital if required;

Full respect for, and protection of, the right to freedom of expression in Azerbaijan.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter, your help is greatly appreciated.