U.S. embassy dismisses intentions to help human rights activists to flee Azerbaijan
Baku, Azerbaijan, May 1
By Emin Aliyev - Trend:
The meeting between representatives of the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan and human rights activists Leyla and Arif Yunus was not intended to help them move somewhere else, U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission to Azerbaijan, Dereck Hogan told journalists Thursday.
"We have already made a statement regarding this matter. I would like to say that the embassy representatives met with Leyla Yunus and her husband on their own initiative; we have been cooperating with them for several years," Hogan said.
The diplomat noted that the embassy always responds positively to meeting requests from government bodies' representatives and from representatives of civil society.
"I stress that the goal of the meeting with them was not to provide any support in moving somewhere," Hogan said.
The Investigation Department of Serious Crimes of Azerbaijani Prosecutor General's Office summoned the director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy Leyla Yunus and her husband Arif Yunus for questioning as witnesses for the case regarding Azerbaijani journalist, Rauf Mirkadirov.
Trying to evade the investigation, Leyla and Arif Yunus attempted to leave Azerbaijan on April 28, but their attempt was foiled, the prosecutor's office said earlier.
The documents, found during the inspection of Leyla Yunus' personal belongings, will be used as evidence, according to the Yasamal District Court of Baku city.
Searches were conducted at Leyla and Arif Yunus' residence and work places.
Leyla Yunus was interrogated as a witness, while Arif Yunus was taken to a hospital due to deterioration of his health.
Translated by E.A.
Edited by S.I.