Open Letter of Azerbaijani Human Rights Activist Leyla Yunus to President Ilham Aliyev

Sam Williams 08/06/2019

Today the Ilham Aliyev regime in Azerbaijan arrested the prominent human rights activist Leyla Yunus and charged her with high treason.

Several days before her arrest, Leyla Yunus had addressed an open letter to president Ilham Aliyev openly challenging the dictatorial nature of his regime. The letter had been published in Azeri and Russian in the local media of Azerbaijan. Below is the English translation of Leyla Yunus' Open Letter to president Ilham Aliyev as translated by the prominent Azeri journalist Khadija Ismayilova and posted on her Facebook page:

The Letter of Leyla Yunus to Ilham Aliyev

Stop panicking, Mr. president!

Mr. president,
Stop panicking. You are under inexplicable fear and panick attack. Why are you so scared? Do these young people - bloggers, Nida activists create such a big threat to your regime that you arrest more youth every day?
Do you know that their parents remember you and your sibllings in their prayers every day?
Brilliant and intelligent people like Yadigar Sadigli and Hasan Huseynli suddenly became "hooligans"!
History of different countries and nations witnessed same kind, and even harsher oppression. The result was the same.
I understand you perfectly - there is no one you'd trust, rely on. Yes, huge administrative resourse, UNLIMITED power, big money. Nevertheless, you are surrounded with sycophant thieves, lacking intellect, caring only about their wealth. Such people cannot be loyal friends. They will not only betray you at the first opportunity, when the hard times will come they will hiddenly consider which rival group, fighting for power to support. You know this better than me.
This is not just a saying: Rather have 100 friends than 100 dollars. A friend is not the one who dances in your party. A friend is the one who stands by you when the dogs of regime are barking and attacking you, the one who is not afraid of being torn to pieces by those dogs. I feel sorry for you. You had never learnt what the true friendship is.
Pull yourself together. It is never late to stop. Only death is irreversible.
Don't let emotions lead you and stop trying to crackdown everyone who disturbs you with criticism, even though you want to kill them with bare hands.
Think, there is a chance to stay in history not as a tyrant and dictator, burying his country in blood, but tolerant and pragmatic politician.
Do it now, release ALL innocent people, arrested with your single order.
You have a choice.
Leyla Yunus,
Director of The Institute for Peace and Democracy.