The Yunus spouses after Leyla Yunis was released, December 9, 2015. Photo by Aziz Karimov for the ‘Caucasian Knot’.

11 December 2015, 18:57

Lawyers say they have 18 months to appeal against verdict to Yunus spouses

The defence disagrees with the verdict of the court of appeal, but the decision to lodge a cassation complaint has not been made yet, Elchin Gambarov, an advocate of Leyla Yunus, told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

Leyla Yunus, the Director of the Institute of Peace and Democracy (IPD) and her husband Arif Yunus were accused of economic crimes and treason. On August 13, Leyla Yunus, was sentenced to 8.5 years of imprisonment, and Arif Yunus – to 7 years in prison. The spouses denied their guilt and declared the political nature of their case. The verdict was appealed against.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on December 9, the Baku Court of Appeal (BCA) commuted the sentences for the Yunus spouses and replaced the actual terms of imprisonment with conditional sentences.

"The session of the appeal instance has just ended; and we still have a lot of time to discuss the matter with our clients. But the main thing now is to restore their health," said Gambarov.

The Yunus couple will lodge appeals, Samira Agaeva, an independent lawyer, who has monitored the trial, believes.

"They kept stating, at the first instance court and at the court of appeal, that they refuse to plead guilty. The court of appeal, although set them free, has upheld their conviction. They were conditionally released," Agaeva explained to the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

According to her story, if the convicts refuse to consider themselves guilty, they still have an opportunity to challenge the verdict at the Supreme Court. "In any case, they should turn to the Supreme Court in order to pass through this instance prior to file a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)," said Agaeva.

By the law, the term for lodging complaints in cases such as the Yunus' case is 18 months, Yalchin Imanov, and expert in the field of criminal law, told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

Full text of the article is available on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’.

Author: Faik Medzhid; Source: CK correspondent

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