Date: 12 June 2006
Amnesty International, London
CC: High Commiserate of Human Rights, Geneva
Dear Mrs. Harrison
Re The COMPOSER MR HESEN AZERBAIJAN TRANSFERRED TO THE EVIN PRISON IS IN A LIFE THREATENING HEART CONDITION
We wrote to you on 27 May 2006 Ref.:327/2006 regarding our compatriot widely known under his penname Mr. Hesen Azerbaijan, whose surname is Herguli.
As detailed in the above letter, at the night of his arrest Mr. Azerbaijan’s lifelong collection of books and CDs and other cultural and musical material laden in two Lorries and were confiscated. Also he was arrested together with his son Babek. Our reliable information sources confirm that he was transferred to the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran last week together with Mr. Chengiz Bekhtaver, Mr. Qulam Rza Emani, Dr. Heyderoglu, Mr. Hesen Erk and Mr. Eli Hamidi Imani. This prison is a terrifying place and for the last 50 years defenders of democracy have been regarding it as synonymous with thinly veiled torture chambers.
We find it among our reliable information that whilst Mr. Azerbaijan was suffering from a life threatening heart condition, the risk to his life has increased drastically. Therefore we request that you take a close interest in this case and offer any help at your disposal to Mr. Azerbaijan and our other innocent activists jailed in Evin.
Additionally, we would like to provide you more information on Mr. Azerbaijan. Mr. Azerbaijan is 65 years old, married, and has two sons and one daughter. As an individual, he is benevolent and renowned for his purity and determination. For fifty years, he has devoted his life to the Azerbaijani music and acted as a magnet for our national music in Southern Azerbaijan. His productivity is vast and includes 2 books and a respectful volume of songs and hymns. His last opera was staged in Tebriz last winter portraying the life of Settar Khan, the Azerbaijani national hero of the Constitution movement in 1905-06.
His dynamism has never been confined to his intellectual productivity but he has also been resourceful in his social services by establishing his own school of Azerbaijani music in Tebriz. Can you imagine his problems, where there is no state fund available to Azerbaijani cultural activities, and where there is no guarantee for the viability of these types of initiatives?
Mr. Azerbaijan, together with some of the activists exiled to the Evin Prison are also members of the Azerbaijan Ojaghi (Ojaq has many connotations that are lost in the English translation but here it is close to the term foundation, i.e. the Azerbaijan Foundation; also the letter “q” at the end of certain words are changed to gh when proceed “i”). This foundation has played a key role to maintain the link between our youths and our culture forced out of the arena.
Our youths are well versed about these veterans of our culture and should they be harmed in any way, one does not have to be very clever to foresee the consequences, especially in this period of aftermath of a widespread mass protest reaching some 2 million people. The only guilt attachable to these veterans is their love for humanity, promoting popular creativity and saving the status of our culture from slow death of assimilation of culture.
Dear Mrs. Harrison,
The history of the heart problem of Mr. Azerbaijan goes back to the imprisonment that he suffered three years ago, when he visited the mausoleum of Prof. Zehtabi on the occasion of the anniversary of 11 December (21 Azer) of our national government in 1945-46. More background was presented in our letter Ref.: 174/2003 on 22 December 2003.
Let us also overview his days in freedom: he has been arrested in numerous occasions; his passport has been confiscated; he is under constant threat; his work place has been raided many times; and above all he carries on his shouders a court sentence of one year term of imprisonment, currently posponed.
Once again, we are requesting you to offer your helpful hands to this old veteran and his fellow activists as your gesture for putting an end to the ongoing injustice inflicted on them. Your effective actions will be a consolation to our innocent people.
For and on behalf of
The Committee for Defending the Rights of the World Azerbaijanis