“We urge the U.S. Department of State to respect the judgment on Leyla and Arif Yunus passed by the court of first instance on August 13, 2015 and independence of the judiciary,” Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Hikmet Hajiyev stated commenting on the U.S. Department of State’s statements regarding the judgment on Leyla and Arif Yunus, SIA
According to Himat Hajiyev that no one was persecuted for his professional activities and political views in Azerbaijan: ” All are equal before the law and being human rights defender doesn’t exempt anyone from criminal responsibility. The hearing’s being held openly and in a free environment was fully ensured and it was watched by the officials of international organizations and foreign embassies accredited in Azerbaijan. Leyla Yunus, along with the local medical services, was under examination and treatment of doctor from the famous German Clinic Charite, Professor Christian Witt and his team of doctors since December, 2014 under the request of the European Union” added the Ministry’s spokesman.
Azerbaijan, a supporter of a constructive dialogue between the peoples as a part of the settlement process of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, has repeatedly proposed the establishment of contacts between the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities. As one of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair states, the United States is aware of it: "On the base of the Azerbaijani constitution, laws and international legal instruments, the protection of rights and interests of Azerbaijani citizens, fundamental rights and freedoms and the provision of rule of law are the highest objective of the government of Azerbaijan."
Recall that, Spokesperson for U.S. Department of State John Kirby said in a statement that the United States is deeply troubled by the decision of an Azerbaijani court to sentence human rights and peace advocates Leyla and Arif Yunus, who have been detained for more than a year, to eight-and-a-half and seven-year prison terms, respectively.
“We are further troubled by reports of irregularities during the judicial process. We are particularly concerned about their health, and we urge the authorities to release them immediately on compassionate grounds. It is in Azerbaijan’s interest to meet its international commitments to uphold the universal rights of all its citizens, a critical step toward achieving a bright, prosperous, and stable future”, said J.Kirby.