The Office of High Commissioner for Human
circulate this letter to the Working Group on Arbitrary
Detention (also for Fair Trials)
CC Mrs. Harrison, Amnesty
The poet and writer,
Leysanli, rounds up his defence by the following poem
Beating us under the hammer;
To belittle over and over.
But shaping as a malleable metal;
We are turning
into a sharp sword.
Mr. Abbas Leysanli
Re COMPLAINT: MR. LEYSANLI’S APPEAL –
FURTHER DOCUMENT TOWARDS THE SUBSTANTIATION OF THE CASE
We refer to our Complaint for safeguarding human rights of Mr. Abbas
Leysanli, a distinguished Southern Azerbaijani activist persecuted
by Iranian authorities with up to 6 arbitrary court cases. Attached
is his appeal to one of these cases, as specified below.
We have provided you with an overview of these cases, as well as the
sentences published by the Iranian authorities for what we call
Cases 1 and 2. Apparently, Case 3 is also at its advanced stage and
we endeavour to inform you as details emerge. The emerging picture
has consistently pointed towards arbitrariness of the cases,
unfounded charges, illegal detentions, draconic treatments and
outrageous sentences. So our complaint stands.
As you know Mr. Leysanli has now bought his freedom, albeit
temporarily, thanks to the arduous campaign of Amnesty International
but we are detecting that you also have been campaigning for Mr.
Leysanli possibly in a more substantive manner. We are grateful for
all these campaigns visible or invisible. Now Mr. Leysanli speaks
for himself by launching his appeal for Case 2. Once again, we
provide you the translation of his appeal, as further evidence
towards our Complaint but as our own initiative.
Let us draw two key elements from Mr. Leysanli’s appeal:
The court was convened purposefully in a
closed session for facilitating the delivery of a premeditated
sentence as Mr. Leysanli’s evidence and witnesses were
discarded. Thus, this particular Iranian authority was in
contempt of human rights and directly challenged your authority
upholding human rights. Mr. Leysanli has challenged the
authority to produce his witnesses towards his defence for he is
on record claiming his full compliance with the universal
declaration of human rights. We are confident that you will not
regard lightly the violation of the court procedure.
The charges brought to Mr. Leysanli are not
valid even according to Iranian laws and therefore the relevant
authorities are in contempt of even their own laws. This
highlights that the arbitrary dimension is indeed harboured by
the Iranian judiciary system.
Liberty, such a precious commodity, is constantly under threat all
over the world. This is kept alive and for the enjoyment of all
thanks to human rights organisations and to sacrifices of
individuals such as Mr. Leysanli. We hope you are on top of his case
and determined to thoroughly defend his human rights.
We know there is a great deal for you to assimilate as regards facts
and figures related to this Complaint. We also appreciate that you
may be in the dark about the reasons for the mass protests, the
systematic abuse of non-Persians. Table 1 aims to fill this gap in
Mr. Leysanli is now defending himself under the banner of human
rights but in reality he is also defending his nation of Southern
Azerbaijan. In our opinion, the only effective way to safeguard
human rights of Mr. Leysanli is either to support his lawyer under
the UN auspice, or directly dispatch your envoy to observe the court
proceedings. We thank you in advance for your care.
For and on behalf of
The Committee for the
Defence of the Rights of World Azerbaijanis
The Reference for our Complaint and updates are:
Ref. 1 Update of a complaint on the
grounds of arbitrary trials concerning Mr. Abbas leysanli (lesani);
Ref: 400/2006 on 18 October 2006
2 Raising complaints against arbitrary trials concerning Mr. Abbas
leysanli (lesani); Ref: 378/2006 on 10 December 2006
The Context for
Appeal of Mr. Leysanli
appeal by Mr. Leysanli has been explained in the above
references and new and original materials are also given in
the appeal. However, there is still some gap for the
uninitiated parties. This gap is related to the official
response to the defamation by the daily newspaper,
daring against the integrity of the nation of Southern
Azerbaijan and also what happened to the newspaper itself.
Regrettably, we have not kept the press cuts for the
subsequent development and therefore we cannot be precise.
However, a rough guide without precise dates is given below
in the bullet point format.
Amnesty International’s account on the background
2006, massive demonstrations took place in towns and cities
in north-western Iran, where the majority of the population
is Azerbaijani Turkic, in protest at a cartoon published on
12 May by the state-owned daily newspaper
which many Azerbaijani Turks found offensive. Hundreds were
arrested during or following the demonstrations (see UA
151/06, MDE 13/055/2006, 26 May 2006 and UA 163/06, MDE
13/063/2006, 8 June 2006). Some of those detained have
allegedly been tortured, with some requiring hospital
treatment. Publication of the newspaper was suspended on 23
May and the editor-in-chief and the cartoonist were
arrested. Azerbaijani sources have claimed that dozens were
killed and hundreds injured by the security forces. The
security forces have generally denied that anyone was
killed, although on 29 May a police official acknowledged
that four people had been killed and 43 injured in the town
Republic of Iran reacted to the Southern Azerbaijani
students protest by threatening and brutish acts of
beating up the protesting students but hardly arresting
them. The student movement raised the awareness of the
nation of Southern Azerbaijan and on 22 May mass protest
broke out in Tebriz spontaneously and this was
replicated in Urmu on 23 May 2006.
to these protests, the Iranian government had no choice
but to close the
newspaper and arrested the cartoonist and the chief
editor in response to this protests. Until then they
thought they could get away.
At the same
time, the rulers of Tehran reacted to the peaceful
protests by bloody repression.
On 24 May
2006 the protests swept to most of the cities and
afterwards there was no abatement to the mass protests
despite the iron-fist policies, but Erdebil was under
even a harsher regime and yet to join the movement.
Some of the
Southern Azerbaijani MPs played nice and joined the
official ranks condemning the protesters and kept quiet
about the defamation other objected and offered a bill
to make it illegal to defame any ethnic group but this
was hampered by the officials.
Azerbaijanis suffered a clampdown and many were detailed
editor and cartoonist were tried recently and the
cartoonist was smuggled to a foreign country when he was
in furlough (yet Mr. Hesen Azerbaijan has been detained
illegally but was not allowed a furlough when he wanted
to visit his lifelong friend in the deathbed (see our
letter: Ref: 395/2006 on 9 October 2006). The chief
editor was recently cleared.
The seal on
was lifted recently and it will be published from 30
October 2006 and yet Mr. Leysanli’s business licence has
been revoked illegally and this is yet to be lifted.