Hikmat Hajiyev: We condemn efforts to deliberately politicize and misinterpret the essence of the guilty verdict over Leyla and Arif Yunus

Baku, August 13, AZERTAC

Spokesman of Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry Hikmat Hajiyev has commented on British Minister for Europe David Lidington`s statement on a verdict over Leyla and Arif Yunus. Hajiyev told AZERTAC:

"We condemn efforts to deliberately politicize and misinterpret the essence of the verdict of the court of the first instance that found Leyla Yunus and Arif Yunus guilty on August 13 2015. These efforts are unacceptable.

Leyla Yunus was found guilty in accordance with the articles 178.3.2 (fraud (with causing damage in the large size)), 192.2.2 (illegal business activity (with extraction of income in the large size)), 213.2.2 (tax evasion (committed with extraction in large amount of income)), 320.1 (forgery of certificate or other official document giving the rights or releasing from duties, with a view of its use or selling of such document, as well as manufacturing in same purposes or selling of counterfeit state awards of the Azerbaijan Republic, stamps, seals, forms) and 320.2 (use of obviously counterfeit documents provided in Article 320.1) of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan, while Arif Yunus was sentenced in accordance with Article 178.3.2 (fraud) of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

The allegations that there were restrictions on access to the court room are groundless. The trial took place in an open and free environment. All conditions were created for the mass media, public and political circles and representatives of the diplomatic corps and international organizations accredited in Azerbaijan, including diplomats of European Union countries to watch the trial.

As regards the allegations about deterioration of Leyla and Arif Yunus' health in pre-trial detention, apart from local medical services, Leyla Yunus has been – since December 2014 at the request of the European Union – under a medical examination of a team of doctors led by Professor Dr. Christian Witt of Charite hospital, Germany. Professor Dr. Christian Witt is still in Azerbaijan, and will re-examine Leyla and Arif Yunus.

It is surprising that the British Minister is not aware that the trial was watched by diplomats and that the convict was under a doctor`s examination. Apparently he was pursuing provocative purposes and deliberately made such a statement.

Independence of courts and the rule of law are fully ensured in the Republic of Azerbaijan. Court decisions must be respected. Under the law, every citizen has the right to appeal to an appellate court."

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