No.: 403/ 2006

Date: 30 October 2006

The Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva

            Please circulate this letter to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (also for Fair Trials)

CC    Mrs. Harrison, Amnesty International, London

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

Dear sir/madam,


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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 knowledge.

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.

Yours faithfully,

 Boyuk Resuloglu

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

Ref. 2   Raising complaints against arbitrary trials concerning Mr. Abbas leysanli (lesani); Ref: 378/2006 on 10 December 2006


Table 1 The Context for Appeal of Mr. Leysanli


The attached 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, Iran, 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.

Background – Amnesty International’s account on the background (Slightly refined)


In May 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 Iran 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 of Sulduz.

The Official Response

  • The Islamic 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.
  • In response to these protests, the Iranian government had no choice but to close the Iran 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.
  • Southern Azerbaijanis suffered a clampdown and many were detailed
  • The chief 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 the newspaper Iran 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.

Azərbaijani Turkic

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