Human rights activists detained in Azerbaijan 

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The Azerbaijani authorities have recently arrested and brought charges against human rights defenders Rasul Jafarov and Leyla Yunus. ‘I am concerned about the arrests of two high-profile human rights defenders in Azerbaijan and the serious charges that have been brought against them. It is particularly worrying that this has happened at a time when Azerbaijan holds the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe,’ said State Secretary Bård Glad Pedersen.

‘Azerbaijan must guarantee and ensure respect for freedom of expression, association and assembly, in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights, which it itself has ratified,’ Mr Pedersen said.
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The arrests and charges against Rasul Jafarov and Leyla Yunus come at a time when there have been an increasing number of reports of pressure on human rights defenders in Azerbaijan.

‘I urge the Azerbaijani authorities to do their utmost to ensure that the trials of those who have been charged are fair and transparent. It is also vital that the Azerbaijani authorities make special arrangements for Leyla Yunus, given her health problems,’ Mr Pedersen said.

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