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Azerbaijan: Elaborate Smear Campaign Targets Prominent Activist

One of several recent pieces on the pro-government Azerbaijani website haqqin.az, devoted to discrediting prominent activist Leyla Yunus.

A scandal has erupted in Azerbaijani legal and activist circles after the publication of a collected volume of the personal correspondence and diary entries of the prominent human rights activist and former political prisoner Leyla Yunus, with the apparent purpose of discrediting her.

Neither the provenance nor the target audience of the book are clear. It is titled “Splendor and Misery of Leyla Yunus,” is authored by her former defense attorney Elchin Gambarov, and is comprised mainly of material that is almost certainly subject to attorney-client privilege. It has been published in four languages.

Passages of the book have been published on the notorious pro-government website Haqqin.az. They are primarily transcriptions of personal letters and diary entries written while Yunus was in prison, along with Gambarov’s often incendiary commentary. As her lawyer at the time, Gambarov was in charge with delivering her letters to the outside world, and he apparently made a habit of photographing them.

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Azerbaijan: Elaborate Smear Campaign Targets Prominent Activist

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