Demand Justice for Tortured Activist

Target: Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan

Goal: Demand medical attention, safe conditions, and adequate facilities for unjustly imprisoned activist

Azerbaijani activist Leyla Yunus, former president of an NGO called the Institute for Peace and Democracy, was unjustly arrested and held on politically motivated charges. She has been subjected to torture and unsafe conditions while in prison, and her health is at great risk. Urge the President of Azerbaijan to grant her medical attention, provide her with adequate living facilities, and protect her from torture as long as she remains in custody.

Yunus was arrested on a number of politically motivated charges including treason, fraud, and tax evasion. Her time in prison has been marked by a number of human rights violations. Most recently, a guard attacked her, throwing her to the ground, pulling her hair, and beating her. The beating was concentrated on Yunus’s kidneys, which is especially troubling as she suffers from kidney-related health issues. She is diabetic and therefore requires medication and appropriate food, both of which she has often been denied in prison. Her health is suffering greatly.

Additionally, Yunus has been denied proper facilities, which has contributed to her fragile state of health. Her lawyers report that her cell was devoid of hot water for two days and that Yunus became sick after taking cold showers. She was not offered any medical attention as a result of this, despite having a high fever. Authorities have prevented her lawyers from seeing and meeting with her.

Leyla Yunus’s arrest and imprisonment have been riddled with human rights violations and are based on flimsy charges. She should be released as soon as possible, and until then it is imperative that she have full access to adequate facilities, medical care, and protection from torture. Sign the petition and demand fair, humane treatment for Leyla Yunus.


Dear President Aliyev,

I am writing to express my urgent concern for the health and wellbeing of activist Leyla Yunus, who has been imprisoned as she awaits trial on a number of charges related to her NGO, the Institute for Peace and Democracy. Yunus’s time in prison has been marked by a number of human rights violations, and her health is suffering greatly as a result. I demand that she be treated humanely and in accordance with international human rights standards.

She has been denied medical attention while in prison for her diabetes and for the injuries she sustained from beatings inflicted by the guards. Additionally, the conditions in Yunus’s cell have deteriorated, further adversely impacting her health. She was without hot water for two days and was forced to take cold showers, which resulted in her becoming ill and running a high fever. Despite this, she received no medical care.

Finally, her lawyers have been prevented from seeing and meeting with her.

Leyla Yunus is a prisoner of conscience and ought to be released immediately. Pending that, however, her human rights must be respected. I demand that she be granted access to her lawyers, medical care, and adequate living facilities. Furthermore, I demand that she be protected from torture and that those responsible for her previous ill-treatment be brought to justice.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Bob Jagendorf via Wikimedia Commons

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