The Baku Court of Appeal today held its consideration of complaints of the human rights activists Leyla and Arif Yunus, who had been prevented from leaving Azerbaijan for treatment.
The request for a special permit was due to the fact that the spouses have criminal penalties. Leyla and Arif Yunus were arrested in July and August 2014 and in 2015 sentenced to 8.5 and 7 years in prison. After a year of arrest, the Court of Appeals changed the sentence to “conditional” for five years.
Arif Yunus had several hypertensive crises, and Leyla suffers from hepatitis C, diabetes and other severe sicknesses, aggravated after the arrest. However, the Yasamal district court denied them permission to leave the country.
Consideration of the appeal took place, chaired by Judge Hasan Ahmadov.
The lawyer Elchin Sadigov pointed to serious illnesses at the Yunus spouses. So Leyla Yunus suffers from diabetes hepatitis C, diabetes, pancreatitis and gallstone disease, which worsened after his arrest. Arif Yunus has hypertension and swelling on the back of his head.
The lawyer noted that the above findings of the disease were documented by Professor of the Berlin clinic Charite Christian Witt. At the same time the lawyer pointed out that, based on these findings, the Court of Appeal replaced the earlier sentence by probation. Therefore, the accuracy of the doctor’s findings cannot be in doubt.
According to Sadigov, treatment of the spouses Yunus is possible in the Berlin clinic, where there are conditions for it. The spouses are ready to go to the hospital, accompanied by members of the Azerbaijani embassy or consulate.
Arif Yunus said that their long-term treatment in Azerbaijan does not give results.
So, still in the MNS jail he was examined by a competent doctor.
Yunus explained the lack of efficacy in the treatment, saying the local doctors acted on the Soviet methodology.
According to Yunus, the couple turned to a number of local clinics, but the doctors did not take the responsibility because of the risk of death.
According to Yunus, Dr. Witt helped them, and they got better.
“But now, Dr. Witt is gone and the medications are over,” said Yunus.
He noted that he has a tumor on the back of the head, which causes severe pain and the local doctors cannot diagnose this disease.
According to Leyla Yunus, for the fact that they are still alive, they are grateful to Professor Witt, who contrary to local doctors has drawn the conclusion that their further stay in prison is life threatening.
She also expressed gratitude to President Ilham Aliyev, who freed them from prison. “But if we cannot get treatment, we may die at home,” said Yunus.
Turning to the judge, she said that he may also once have seriously ill relatives and so we must act godly today to ask for God’s healing tomorrow.
The representative of the Justice Department for the execution of court decisions said that the couple Yunus meet the requirements of probation and get recorded on time.
However, in the event of their departure control of the execution of the sentence will be impossible.
The prosecutor opposed the satisfaction of the complaint and the judge declined it.
The lawyer Sadigov stated on the illegality of the court decision and violation of Articles 2 (right to life) and 3 (prohibition of torture) of the European Convention on Human Rights against the spouses. He said that the defense will submit an appeal.
Leyla Yunus said that until now she suffered six surgical operations and is now in need of emergency surgery. She also said she would file an appeal.
Arif Yunus also pointed to the need for urgent treatment.
The head of the Center for Monitoring of Political Prisoners Elshan Hasanov condemned the refusal to let the spouses Yunus go abroad. “Even the naked eye can see that these people are seriously ill. It is necessary to urgently provide them an opportunity to cure. For our part we are ready to take them on bail,” Hasanov said.