Release Activist Held for Political Reasons


Target: Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev

Goal: Obtain the release of prominent human rights activist Leyla Yunus.

The government of Azerbaijan must immediately release human rights activist Leyla Yunus and drop all charges against her. Her recent arrest is the latest event in a long string of harassment by Azerbaijani authorities. Mrs. Yunus’ arrest is a violation of European human rights laws and treaties that Azerbaijan is required to follow. The government must do more to protect the basic human rights of its citizens. If Azerbaijan does not discontinue its harassment of Leyla Yunus and her family, there should be considerable consequences for the government.

Leyla Yunus runs the Institute for Peace and Democracy, a group focused on combating political corruption, violence against women, and a number of other issues. Recently, the group has been involved in efforts to improve communication between leaders in Azerbaijan and Armenia. Government security forces detained Mrs. Yunus on her way to a conference to discuss these issues. After six hours of interrogation, she was charged with treason, fraud, tax evasion and falsifying documents.

This crackdown on opposition voices by the government has been ongoing over the last number of years. It has continued this last year even as Azerbaijan has taken over the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the continent’s most prominent human rights enforcer. Sign this petition to demand the immediate release of Leyla Yunus.


Dear President Ilham Aliyev,

The recent arrest of Leyla Yunus continues a disturbing trend of suppressing members of the political opposition. Your government must do more to allow the practice of human rights for all citizens of Azerbaijan. I propose that you do this by releasing those who have been arrested for politically motivated reasons. Doing this would show Europe that you are deserving of chairing the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

If nothing is done to improve the human rights situation, your government will face severe economic repercussions. The free practice of human rights is a must for all the people of Azerbaijan. I ask that you immediately and unconditionally release Leyla Yunus and show the world that you are serious about improving your human rights record.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: FOTW via Wikipedia Commons

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110 Signatures

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