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Amnesty Calls For Release Of Azerbaijani Dissident, Amid Health Concerns

Rights group Amnesty International has called for the immediate release of Azerbaijani human rights activist Leyla Yunus amid reports her health has been rapidly deteriorating.

Amnesty said in an August 12 statement that authorities have refused to provide Yunus with medical assistance or medication for diabetes and kidney disease.

The group said Yunus has been complaining of pains and weakness but that prison authorities have refused to hospitalize her.

Yunus, a 57-year-old fierce critic of Azerbaijan's poor rights record, was arrested on July 30. She was charged with high treason, spying for Armenia, illegal business activities, documents forgery, and fraud.

Her husband, Arif Yunus, 59, was also reportedly arrested on August 5, charged with treason and fraud, and put under police surveilance.

Amnesty called for the couple to be "immediately and unconditionally" released and for Leyla Yunus to be given urgent medical treatment.

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