Details added (first version posted on 13:15)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 14
By Seba Aghayeva - Trend:
Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry called on the US Department of State to respect the court decision on the case of Leyla and Arif Yunusovs and the independence of the judicial authority, the head of the ministry's press service, Hikmet Hajiyev told Trend August 14.
He was commenting on a statement of the US Department of State regarding the said court decision.
"No one in Azerbaijan is prosecuted for professional activities and political views," said Hajiyev. "All are equal before the law, and the human rights activity doesn't exempt anyone from criminal liability."
He said all the conditions were created in Azerbaijan for the media outlets, public and political circles, representatives of diplomatic corps and international organizations accredited in Azerbaijan, as well as diplomats from the EU member states to follow this trial.
Speaking about the issue of health condition of Leyla and Arif Yunusovs during the investigation, Hajiyev said that along with local health services, Leyla Yunusova, in line with the EU's request, was from December 2014 under the observation of Christian Witt, the professor of the German Charité clinic, and his medical group.
"By maintaining a constructive dialogue between peoples, which is an integral part of the process of settling the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Azerbaijan has repeatedly offered to establish contact between the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of Nagorno-Karabakh," Hajiyev further said. "The US is a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, and has been informed about this."
"Protection of the Azerbaijani citizens' rights and interests, ensuring fundamental rights, freedoms and the rule of law on the basis of the Constitution and laws, as well as international legal instruments joined by the country, is the supreme goal of Azerbaijani state," he stressed.
The court session on a criminal case launched against Leyla and Arif Yunusovs continued August 13 at the Baku Court of Grave Crimes.
Under the court decision, Leyla Yunusova was sentenced to eight years and six months in prison, and Arif Yunusov was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Leyla Yunusova is charged under the articles 274 (high treason), 178.3.2 (fraud (by inflicting major damage)), 192.2.2 (illegal entrepreneurship), 213.2.2 (evasion from a large amount of taxes), 320.1 (forging a certificate or another official document providing rights or exempting from duties, in order to use or sell that document, as well as making for the same purposes or selling forged state awards of Azerbaijan Republic, stamps, seals, forms) and 320.2 (use of deliberately forged documents indicated in the article 320.1 of this Code) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan.
Arif Yunusov is charged under the articles 274 (high treason) and 178.3.2 (fraud) of Azerbaijan's Criminal Code.
A separate lawsuit was filed for both individuals on the criminal case under article 274 (high treason).
The court's decision, made August 13, applies only to criminal proceedings on the fraud, tax evasion, and others cases.