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Arif Yunus

Azerbaijani author and historian

Middle East and North Africa

Arif Yunus is an Azerbaijani author, historian, and the head of the Department of Conflict and Migration at the Institute of Peace and Democracy, an organization that promotes rule of law and conflict resolution between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Yunus has published more than 30 books and nearly 200 articles related to Azerbaijan’s history and Azerbaijani-Armenian relations. Yunus supports a peaceful resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and is widely regarded as an expert in conflict resolution between the two countries. Yunus is also a known defender of victims of torture and political imprisonment and was detained along with his wife Leyla in 2014 on trumped-up charges of spying for Armenia. Yunus was declared a prisoner of conscience after he was detained again on August 5, 2014, and was sentenced to seven years in jail on charges of fraud and tax evasion. In 2016, Yunus and his wife were allowed to leave Azerbaijan to pursue medical care and were reunited with their daughter in the Netherlands.