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Arrested Azerbaijani Rights Defender Reportedly Beaten In Custody

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

Lawyers of Azerbaijani human rights activist Leyla Yunus say that their client has been beaten in pretrial detention.

According to the lawyers on September 24, a guard in the detention center on September 23 transferred Yunus to an empty cell, pushed her to the floor, and dragged her by her hair.

The Azerbaijani Justice Ministry rejected the lawyers' statement, saying that Yunus's rights are being duly respected.

Yunus, 57, is a fierce critic of Azerbaijan's poor rights record. She and her husband, Arif Yunus, 59, were arrested in July and August and charged with high treason, spying for Armenia, illegal business activities, forgery, and fraud.

Human rights organizations have demanded that the Azerbaijani authorities immediately release the couple, saying the charges against them were politically motivated.