Chairman of the Azerbaijani Delegation to Euronest PA Elkhan Suleymanov has sent a letter of protest to President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, SIA
The letter says:
“We have read with dismay your address of 15th of August on Azerbaijan, concerning the legal proceedings taken against Ms. Leyla Yunus and Mr. Arif Yunus related to their financial misconducts and tax evasion. Yet again you chose to get involved in the judiciary issues of a third country, of a free and sovereign nation, Azerbaijan.
Your message did not address, in any way, the accusations brought forward against the Yunus couple, and you dismissed completely any validity for the sentences. I do not want, unlike you, to get involved in the affairs of the judiciary, yet it is outrageous you chose to criticize without even acknowledging that there were real charges brought forward against the two.
The tax and financial legislation of any country is its own internal affair. Azeri tax policy is in no way more stringent or tougher than that of EU Member States. If a person commits a crime according to these laws, if they do not properly declare their gains, if they misappropriate funds and if they do not declare their transactions, they are pursued by justice in your country, Germany, as they are in Azerbaijan. And if they are found guilty, they are sentenced in accordance with the severity of their crime.
If you believe Azerbaijan “is an important partner” then act accordingly. Show that you do not want to constantly defend criminals sentenced in courts of civil and penal law and cease calling for release from prison for duly sentenced people! How would you react if the Azeri Parliament would constantly call for the release from jails of various German citizens, tried and sentenced under German laws, which you find appropriate?
Nevertheless, please be informed that all prisoners in Azerbaijan are treated according the highest standards of humanitarian law. The health of Ms. Yunus and any other prisoners is monitored and medical assistance is always available. More than this, there have been repeated cases of presidential pardons in relation to many ill prisoners in recent years.
However, your constant attacks have made the Azeri public very critical and negative towards the European Union in general and the European Parliament in particular. Messages such as the one you send on the 15th of August will be interpreted in a negative way. Therefore, it is unlikely for any people to be released if this is called by such messages as yours, as the general population will perceive it as EU mingling in our own, internal matters.
For the sake of your own credibility, image but also of the judicial situation in Azerbaijan, please think better before issuing such unfounded accusations or making such ill-advised calls. Your messages harm EU-Azeri relations, trust in the EU from Azeri citizens and politicians and needlessly politicize court cases of otherwise common criminals. You do these people more harm than good, Mr. President.
Please rethink your strategy, if any, towards Azerbaijan. If your do value in any way our partnership, it is high the European Parliament starts showing this value”.