No.: 416/ 2006

Date: 29 Nov 2006

The Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva

                Please circulate this letter to the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. Also this Communication is relevant to the following Special Raporteurs:

·         Working Group on arbitrary detention;

·         Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges;

·         Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance.

CC       Mrs. Harrison, Amnesty International, London

Dear sir/madam,

Re       COMMUNICATION ON MRS. Ruqeyye LEYSANLI: Mrs. Leysanli: I declare that we will not yield in front of the State of Iran shutting down our business under seal. Who is up there to defend our right to subsistence?

Please find enclosed Communication submitted for the attention of the Special Raporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression of Mrs. Leysanli, see Table 1. Mrs. Leysanli campaigns bravely for her husband, Mr. Abbas Leysanli, a distinguished leader of Southern Azerbaijani national movement. He is committed to a democratic struggle but deprived of his liberty by Iranian authorities through kangaroo court procedures and we have communicated the situation to you through a series of letters, see Table 2. Mrs. Leysanli is now heading her family with three children at primary school, but intimidated by Iranian security agents.

Mrs. Leysanli’s gave an interview to the Voice of America (VoA) on 17 November 2006. We have transcribed the interview and its English translation is in Table 3. The interview makes up as the substance of the present Communication together with Urgent Actions issued by Amnesty International for her husband, verifying him as a prisoner of conscience. Mrs. Leysanli’s vulnerable situation is evident in the interview giving an insight into:

  • The family is disillusioned with the Iranian justice system and therefore Mrs. Leysanli campaigns for regaining the liberty of her husband but her right to freedom of opinion and expression is undermined (Mrs. Leysanli, as a helpless housewife is apparently threatened with passing secrets of the country to foreign media!);
  • A constant fear looms over Mrs. Leysanli, as security agents keep traumatising her three teenaged children and intimidating the family with arresting their mother;
  • Mrs. Leysanli informs us on the plight of their shop, as the only source of her family’s livelihood, which is shut down under the State seal for the only reason that the name of the shop is in her mother tongue and not in Farsi. She rallies explicitly for an international attention. We trust that you will show a serious sensitivity to this subject and take whatever measure as you deem right.

In order to manage the risk of reprisal against Mrs. Leysanli by the Iranian authorities, we have not consulted her in compiling this Communication. We are closely monitoring the situation and will immediately embark on a complaint should she suffer an arbitrary act of arrest. In the meantime, we believe that the injustice looking over the Leysanli’s family can only be alleviated by your sensitive intervention. Once again we appeal to your kind attention to escalate the pace of your campaign for the release of Mr. Abbas Leysanli.

Yours faithfully,

Boyuk Resuloglu

For and on behalf of

The Committee for the Defence of the Rights of World Azerbaijanis

Listen

 

Table 1: Communication to Safeguard the Entitlement of Mrs. Ruqeyye Leysanli

1. Allegation regarding the person:

 

Description of the violation of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, including date, location and circumstances of the event;

Outline: This Communication presents the case of Mrs. Leysanli, the wife of a prisoner of conscience, Mr. Leysnli. She is constantly intimidated by Iranian authorities in a variety of ways including telephone calls, stalking, socially isolating the family by frightening visitors including friends and relatives. Above all, the family business has been forcefully shut down under the State seal and the natural right of the family to work for making their living has been completely undermined. These are based on the information given by the family to the Voice of America (VoA), Urgent Actions issued by Amnesty International and our own sources. When the helpless head of the family, Mrs. Leysanli, speaks up, she is accused of giving away the secrets of the country and this is one of the ploys designed to severe her right to freedom of opinion and expression. This Table is the core of this Communication and presents a desperate Case that this helpless and vulnerable woman is subjected to.

 

 

Name:                         Mrs. Ruqeyye Leysanli (her first name may also be transcribed as Rogeyyeh and her surname as Lesani or Lisani)

Age,                            22 August 1978

Gender,                      Female

Ethnic background    She is a Southern Azerbaijani national, a citizen of the Islamic Republic of Iran – her ethnic affiliation is one of the central issues, as she campaigns for the official recognition of mother tongue of Azerbaijani Turkic.

Profession;                Housewife looking after her three children

 

 

Views                         Mrs. Leysanli campaigns for the release of her husband who has been imprisoned arbitrarily by Iranian authorities for his exercise of his right to freedom of opinion and expression (for more background see Urgent Actions by Amnesty International e.g.: MDE 13/063/2006 issued on 8 June 2006; or MDE 13/125/2006 on 8 November 2006. Her husband’s ordeals should also be seen in the background of the May 2006 Mass Protests, which swept throughout Southern Azerbaijan in response to a State-sponsored abuse of the national integrity of Southern Azerbaijanis. An estimated 2 million people took part in these protests.

Affiliations                  In Iran, non-conformist organizations are persecuted by the Ministry of Intelligence and therefore Mr. and Mrs. Leysanli do not belong to any organization, although Mr. Leysanli has emerged as a leading figure of the national movement of Southern Azerbaijan.

Past or present participation in political, social, ethnic or labour group/activity:

                                    To our knowledge, Mrs. Leysanli does not participate in any political, social or labour activity. However, she is an arduous campaigner for her husband during which she also campaigns for the official reinstatement of the status of mother tongue of Southern Azerbaijanis.

 

 

Information on other specific activities relating to the alleged violation.

                                    Mrs. Leysanli has been subjected numerous intimidations, as outlined below.

                                    Amnesty International (see MDE 13/063/2006 issued on 8 June 2006) described a recent ordeal of the family as follows: Mrs. Leysanli,  “reportedly said that more than 30 plainclothes security officials shot the lock off their door and entered the house without showing any warrant, which is required by law. She said they beat Abbas Lisani in front of her and their two young sons, and insulted her when she asked them not to beat him. Saying they had orders allowing them to shoot him, they handcuffed him and took him away. They also took two mobile phones, CDs, books and a computer.”

                                    Following the above event, the access of Mrs. Leysanli to visit her husband was often denied, their telephones tapped and often interrupted or cut off.  In Mrs Leysanli’s words (see Table 3, below) “elow) “elow) “When Abbas was jailed for 4 months (after 27 May 2006 of Mass Protests), they served notice for arresting me for my campaigns by issuing updates on my husband to the phoning supporters and well-wishers.”

                                    Again Amnesty International just recently stated (tated (tated (tated (tated (tated (MDE 13/125/2006 on 8 November 2006) that, Mrs. Leysanli, his “wife has also reportedly been threatened with arrest in connection with her advocacy on his behalf.”

                                    Our opinion is that, Iranian authorities are extremely harsh to the wife of any prisoner of conscience in Southern Azerbaijan, although this may also be true for the other nationals within Iran. The wife of a prisoner of conscience is driven to a vulnerable situation and as a result, she becomes a prisoner in her house. We have provided you a letter from the wife of a prisoner of conscience that is very revealing and there is a parallel with the fears of the wife of any other prisoner of conscience, including Mrs. Leysanli, see our letter: Ref: 375/2006 on 5 September 2006. In this letter we find: “The problem is that the dignity of our family can be undermined if I am also arrested, as certain elements of the regime will spread dirty rumors. It is not improbable that certain security agents would dare to dishonor our family. Due to such threats, my husband is under extreme pressure. In my turn, I fear to be kidnapped. I do not leave our house except in very rare occasions and only when I am accompanied with my in-laws.”

                                    The outcome is that Mrs. Leysanli is forced to social exclusion and without the full enjoyment of the rights to freedom of opinion and expression and the right to seek, receive and impart information. At this critical time while her husband is away and when she needs support from fellow human beings and friends, the trauma of social exclusion is an additional dimension associated with the injustice inflicted on Mrs. Leysanli.

 

2. Allegation regarding a medium of communication:

 

A description of the alleged infringement on the right:

                                    Mrs. Leysanli wants to exercise her right to freedom of opinion and expression to campaign for the release of her husband, Mr. Leysanli but her right is infringed by the Iranian authorities through the following mechanisms:

Campaigning for her husband: In Mrs. Leysanli’s words (as extracted from Table 3): Now they are (Our Note: i.e. security agents) frequently phoning my parents and are intimidating them by saying that they will arrest me. ... Our rights mean education in our mother tongue, radio and television services in our language. … It is the duty of the State to confer the rights of the 30 million (Southern Azerbaijani) nation, in Iran. (I will not be silenced) even if they serve notice for my arrest, whom make excuse that I am passing national secrets to foreigners by these telephone calls. I am not passing any secret but my heart cries for the ongoing injustices and for the sake of my three children who are continually traumatised but will never yield in confronting this State. Even if they arrest me, my children will bear our flag and carry on this international campaign and speak up for us.

                                    The repressive act on the basis of non-Farsi name of the shop of the Leysanli family is by no way unique and limited to them. This is becoming a widespread problem and intolerable one indeed. Gor instance, we have provided the details of a similar case to you (i) see our letter Ref: 372/2006 on 28 August 2006 (Supporting Document 4) describing the shutting down of a shop in the Southern Azerbaijani city of Zenjan and (ii) there is one such a case in the Southern Azerbaijani city of Julfa (see: http://haqqimiz.blogfa.com/ on 18 November 2006).

The infringement onto running their business: Mrs. Leysanli is now the head of a family with three children. Iranian authorities carry on with the infringement onto Mrs. Leysanli’s right to the extent that it has become impossible for the family to run their business. For some four months they have shut their shop under the State seal and since the second imprisonment of her husband on 31 October 2006, this seal has become total. The scale of infringement is clearly expressed by Mrs. Leysanli (see Table 3, below) as follows. Iranian authorities “have frightened everyone away and deterred his friends. Our shop is still illegally shut under seal. Again, Abbas has now been in the prison for 16 days. Since his arrest this time round, many of his friends are even deterred to contact us. As our only source of income is the shop and now that is shut down under seal, it simply means that we are stuck. 

                                    We have explored letting our shop but then everyone is deterred and no one dares to approach us. Last time when they arrested Abbas, no one dared to approach us too. The scale of intimidation was so fierce that no one dared even to approach the shop. Let it be known that we have advertised to let the shop but subject to maintaining its name. The name is Chenli Bel. This State (i.e. the State of Iran) is nervous of the name and they say this is a political name and you have to rename it.”

 

 

The nature of the medium affected (e.g. newspapers, independent radio); including circulation and frequency of publication or broadcasting, public performances, etc

                                    As a result of the infringements onto Mrs. Leysanli’s right, their family business is completely undermined and their security is non-existent.

 

 

Political orientation of the medium (if relevant).

                                    We are not aware of any political orientation, other than the solid commitment of the family to purely democratic means and the exercise of human right principles. They are renown for not compromising human rights.

 


 

3. Information regarding the alleged perpetrators:

 

Name, State affiliation (e.g. military, police) and reasons why they are considered responsible: 

The intimidating agents are often harboured by the Ministry of Intelligence through security agents. These are often nebulous overtly organized militia groups that are heard of but not seen. It is impossible to be more specific than this.

The ordeal goes on in the Southern Azerbaijani city of Erdebil and in the Iranian administration terms, the city Erdebil (Ardebil) the provincial capital of the Province of Ardebil.

 

 

For non-State actors, description of how they relate to the State (e.g. cooperation with or support by State security forces);

N/A

 

 

If applicable, State encouragement or tolerance of activities of non-State actors, whether groups or individuals, including threats or use of violence and harassment against individuals exercising their right to freedom of opinion and expression, including the right to seek, receive and impart information. 

No one knows who these security agents are but they are certainly harboured by the Ministry of Intelligence officials. They often can get away with anything they do

.


 

4. Information related to State actions:

 

If the incident involves restrictions on a medium (e.g. censorship, closure of a news organ, banning of a book, etc.); the identity of the authority involved (individual and/or ministry and/or department), the legal statute invoked, and steps taken to seek domestic remedy;

N/A

 

If the incident involves arrest of an individual or individuals, the identity of the authority involved (individual and/or ministry and/or department), the legal statute invoked, location of detention if known, information on provision of access to legal counsel and family members, steps taken to seek domestic remedy or clarification of person's situation and status;

It is impossible to provide the details of the agents who inflict intimidation acts, as the Iranian authorities are extremely careful to cover their tracks.

However, the Leysanli family shop has been shut down by the official State seal and therefore there is certain collusion between these overt agents and the Ministry of Justice officials.

 

If applicable, information on whether or not an investigation has taken place and, if so, by what ministry or department of the Government and the status of the investigation at the time of submission of the allegation, including whether or not the investigation has resulted in indictments.

The government, Ministry of Intelligence, their overt agents, and Ministry of Justice officials often collude together.

 

5. Information on the source of the communications:

 

Name and full address:

Mr. Boyuk Resuloglu,

Ayna, Sherifzade 1,

Baki,

The Republic of Azerbaijan

 

Telephone and fax numbers and e-mail address (if possible):

Tel/Fax: +47-99399225

Email: bo-diza@online.no or boyuk_resuloglu@hotmail.com

 

 

Name, address, phone/fax numbers and e-mail address (if applicable) of person or organization submitting the allegation.

As above

Note that DunAzHAK is an NGO devoted to the defence of human rights.

 

Table 2: The Various Correspondences of DunAzHAK related to Mr. Abbas Leysanli

The Complaint lodged:

Ref: 378/ 2006 on 31 August 2006

 

Updates:

Ref: 403/ 2006 on 30 October 2006

Ref: 399/ 2006 on 18 October 2006

Ref: 399/ 2006 on 18 October 2006

Ref: 409/ 2006 on 5 November 2006

 

Indirect Correspondences:

Ref:  372/ 2006 on 28 August 2006

Ref:  365/ 2006 on 19 August 2006

Ref:  355/ 2006 on 28 July 2006

Ref:  353/ 2006 on 24 July 2006

Ref:  350/ 2006 on 18 July 2006

Ref:  338/ 2006 on 18 June 2006

Ref:  333/ 2006 on 8 June 2006

 

 

Table 3: The Interview of the VoA with Mrs. Ruqeyye Leysanli on 17 November 2006

 

VoA: You are listening to the program of a Window to Southern Azerbaijan (Iranian Azerbaijan). Abbas Leysanli is active for promoting their national rights and now he has been imprisoned for more than 2 weeks. Mr. Abbas Leysanli’s wife is informing us that she was able to visit her husband, who has been jailed in a prison cell with hardcore criminal cellmates.

Mrs. Leysanli: Abbas is kept in Wing 7 (Translator’s addition: in the General Tebriz Prison) for drug addicts to psychologically traumatise him. However, thanks goodness his morale is very high and calls upon all his comrades to remain united.

VoA: Mrs. Leysanli is of the opinion that Abbas Leysanli is jailed illegally.

Mrs. Leysanli: Yes, Mr. Leysanli’s arrest and imprisonment are illegal. He was arrested even before issuing the verdict. The verdict was issued after two days of being in the prison.

VoA: Now that disillusioned with the Iranian justice system, Mrs. Leysanli is determined to orchestrate her campaign for regaining the liberty of her husband.

Mrs. Leysanli: We will do our best and let us see what will happen in time.

VoA: Mrs. Leysanli is not even deterred by being imprisoned for taking her campaign into the international arena for securing her husband’s freedom.

Mrs. Leysanli: When Abbas was jailed for 4 months (after 27 May 2006 of Mass Protests), they served notice for arresting me for my campaigns by issuing updates on my husband to the phoning supporters and well-wishers. Now they are frequently phoning my parents and intimidating them by saying that they will arrest me. They do not dare to call me as they know that I can respond to them. We shall not yield while facing them or their laws. The reason is clear, in the last five months they have illegally jailed my husband twice. His demands are simple: the respect for the rights of his nations and no other demands. Our rights mean education in our mother tongue, radio and television services in our language. He demands newspapers and journals in our language. Abbas is campaigning for these rights and nothing else. It is the duty of the State to confer the rights of the 30 million (Southern Azerbaijani) nation, in Iran. (I will not be silenced) even if they serve notice for my arrest, whom make excuse that I am passing national secrets to foreigners by these telephone calls. I am not passing any secret but my heart cries for the ongoing injustices and for the sake of my three children who are continually traumatised but will never yield in confronting this State. Even if they arrest me, my children will bear our flag and carry on this international campaign and speak up for us.

VoA: Mrs. Leysanli is more upset for the imprisonment of her husband’s fellow activists than her husband’s imprisonment and the loss of business due to the State intervention by shutting down their shop under seal, as the only source of their livelihood. The name of the shop is Chenli Bel. (Translator’s Note: This name is an Azerbaijani Turkic word and means misty foothills but has the connotation as in the word Camelot. The intolerance of the Iranian authorities even to this name is proportional to spearheading their arbitrary acts in every sphere.)

Mrs. Leysanli: They have frightened everyone away and deterred his friends. Our shop is still illegally shut under seal. Again, Abbas has now been in the prison for 16 days. Since his arrest this time round, many of his friends are even deterred to contact us. As our only source of income is the shop and now that is shut down under seal, it simply means that we are stuck.

We have explored letting our shop but then everyone is deterred and no one dares to approach us. Last time when they arrested Abbas, no one dared to approach us too. The scale of intimidation was so fierce that no one dared even to approach the shop. Let it be known that we have advertised to let the shop but subject to maintaining its name. The name is Chenli Bel. This State (i.e. the State of Iran) is nervous of the name and they say this is a political name and you have to rename it.

This is the reason that our shop is shut under seal for 4 months. Since the imprisonment of Abbas this time round, the shop is fully closed.

VoA: Despite all these Mr. Abbas Leysanli’s wife vows her defiance in the following words:

Mrs. Leysanli: I declare that we will not yield in front of the State (of Iran) shutting down our business. Who is up there to defend our right to subsistence?

Azərbaijani Turkic

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