The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office notes with concern the charging on 30 July of Leyla and Arif Yunus, peace activists and prominent members of civil society.
These charges are the latest addition to a worrying trend of increased pressure upon civil society activities in Azerbaijan. The FCO reiterates the Minister for Europe’s statement of 12 May 2014 that, “People to people interactions, and the peace-builders who sustain these links, are an essential element of any peace and reconciliation process.” The UK calls on Azerbaijan to ensure that the Yunus’ are afforded the right to a fair trial in accordance with Azerbaijan’s international obligations.
The Azerbaijan authorities will be aware of Ms Yunus’ personal health issues. It is therefore of utmost importance that adequate medical care and detention conditions are also ensured.