Thursday, 21 April 2016 - 08:20
Video: Human rights activists flee Azerbaijan, stunned upon Netherlands arrival
Human rights activists Leyla and Arif Yunus arrived safely in the Netherlands after fleeing from Azerbaijan. They're staying in the so-called Shelter City - a safe place where human rights defenders can live in peace for three months - at the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The two activists were met at Schiphol Airport by their daughter Dinara, who they greeted with embraces. "This is a great dream. Until yesterday we did not believe it 100 percent that we would come." an emotional Leyla said to Amnesty International. "So it is a great dream. I am here. Our daughter is here. Her father is ill and in shock (from relief, ed). It's great, thank you very much." Leyla Yunus was arrested in the summer of 2014 for calling it "inappropriate" that the first European Games would be held in Azerbaijan in 2015, while the country violates human rights, according to Amnesty. She was accused of treason, abuse of power and fraud and was sentenced to 8.5 years in prison, without any evidence against her. Arif Yunus was also charged with fraud and treason and placed under house arrest. He was sent to prison after he gave interviews about Leyla's situation. The charges of treason are also linked to their efforts in trying to reach a peaceful solution in the conflict in Nagorno-Karabach, for which they visited people and organizations in Armenia. The relationship between Azerbaijan and Armenia is very bad. They were not allowed contact with each other and both were badly treated. Late last year they were released on parole for medical reasons. "The decision to let the Yunus couple travel shows that it is useful to exert pressure on the international community", Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs said. "Along with human rights organizations, we can really bring about change." "Amnesty International is extremely pleased that the Netherlands worked towards the arrival of the Yunus couple and the reunion with their daughter Dinara, who has lived in our country for several years", Amnesty writes.