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Baku Has Decided not to Give Up

The official Baku condemns the deliberate attempts to politicize the judicial verdict against Leila Yunus and Arif Yunus. "We condemn and consider unacceptable the attempts to politicize and deliberately distort the verdict of August 13, 2015 by the court of first instance in respect of Leyla Yunus and Arif Yunusov," the statement of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry says. According to the representative of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, "the application of the restrictions for observers in the judicial process are unfounded. The trial was held in an open and free atmosphere."

Earlier, the British Minister for Europe David Lidington said that the trial of human rights activists appeared to be politically motivated because of problems with access of observers and of ignoring the health of the accused by the court.

On the eve, Azerbaijan's leading human rights activist Leyla Yunus was sentenced to 8.5 years in prison, her husband, the historian Arif Yunus, received a 7-year term.

As expected, this sentence raised a lot of noise in the West. It was criticized strongly by PACE President Anne Brasseur. In connection with the sentencing of Leyla Yunus and her husband Arif Yunus, a statement was made by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland. He noted that "the verdict might eventually be considered by the European Court of Human Rights." "The arrests of human rights defenders in Azerbaijan on charges of criminal offenses - is proof of repression against civil society," quotes the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe Nilsa Muyzhnieksa.

The official Washington also expressed a deep concern about the decision of the Azerbaijani court to sentence the Yunus family. In a statement, the US State Department noted that the charges appear to relate exclusively to the participation of Leyla and Arif Yunus in human rights activities, and their participation in the programs aimed at reducing tensions and building confidence in the region.

It should be also noted that the spouses are now under investigation in the criminal case of treason - espionage in favor of Armenia. The process for this case has not yet started, but if they are found guilty, they will face a life imprisonment.

The international community has repeatedly spoken for the protection of Yunus spouses, urging Azerbaijan to release them, but the Azerbaijani authorities decided not to give up. Otherwise, it would mean that Baku accepts the fact that there are 100 political prisoners in the country.

In Azerbaijan there are no loud statements in defense of the rights of Yunus spouses, as everyone is afraid to be considered a "dissident" himself. In the post named "My country has gone mad" a citizen of Azerbaijan writes: "Friends, colleagues and others, I certainly understand that everyone has different opinions and ideas, but I just cannot figure out how one can enjoy the long sentences of two intelligent and hard-working people? Ok, you do not consider them human rights activists, OK, it hurts you what they said about your superhero Ramil Safarov ... But are you seriously pleased that two elderly people with serious health problems are going to get jailed and endure the humiliation?" Another user of a social network in his turn wrote: "People are stupidly jealous that someone was so honest, that thundered for it. And" respectable "- it's just an example. It is possible for some to come up with another word. I want to say that if they bother you clap, then that is something you are trying to budge in this country, and you even get ".

However, it seems that in Azerbaijan they have almost got rid of everyone who was trying to make a move in the country...

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