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A second lawyer has been barred from defending jailed Azerbaijani human rights activist Leyla Yunus.

Xalid Bagirov told RFE/RL that he was not allowed to meet with his client in a pretrial detention center in Baku on November 5.

He said he was told he had been barred from defending Yunus by Azerbaijan's the prosecutor-general, but no reason was given.

Last week, Yunus said that another lawyer, Cavad Cavadov, had been barred from representing her in court.

Yunus, 58, is a fierce critic of Azerbaijan's poor rights record.

She and her husband, Arif Yunus, 59, were arrested in July and August, respectively, and charged with high treason and other crimes.

The couple says the charges are politically motivated.

Western governments and human rights groups have called for the couple's immediate release.

Yelena Tonkachyova, head of the Lawtrend Legal Transformation Center, called the deportation hearing "a circus."

A rights advocate who has been ordered to leave Belarus described her deportation hearing as a circus and vowed to appeal.

A court in the Belarusian capital ruled on November 5 that Yelena Tonkachyova , a Russian citizen, must leave the country by December 5 and barred her from entering Belarus for three years.

Speaking to reporters in Minsk on November 6, Tonkachyova, head of the Lawtrend Legal Transformation Center, called the deportation hearing "a circus."

She said she would appeal the ruling.

Tonkachyova, who has lived in Belarus since 1985, was officially informed on October 30 that her residence permit had been annulled.

Authorities said the decision was based on her violation of a traffic regulation.

Lawtrend promotes freedom of expression, freedom of association, and the right of access to information, justice, and a fair trial.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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