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Pretrial Detention Of Prominent Azerbaijani Rights Defender Extended

Leyla Yunus

The pretrial detention of prominent Azerbaijani human rights activist Leyla Yunus has been extended.

Yunus's lawyer, Elcin Qanbarov, told RFE/RL that Baku's Nasimi District Court had ruled on October 24 that Yunus must stay in pretrial detention until February 28.

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, documents forgery, and fraud.

The couple insists the charges are politically motivated.

Human rights organizations have demanded that Azerbaijani authorities immediately release the couple.

The Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition announced on October 24 that it had nominated Yunus for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize.

She was a finalist for the recent Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.