No.: 429/ 2006

Date: 28 Dec. 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

Mr. Hesen Rashidi

Dear sir/madam,

Re       COMMUNICATION ON MR. HESEN RASHIDI

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. This submission is for safeguarding human rights of Mr. Hesen Rashidi, a prominent Southern Azerbaijani journalist, who has suffered a long period of arbitrary detention and now is going through the appeal against his arbitrary sentence.

The documents presented for your attention are:

Table 1:     The Communication Form related to the right to freedom of opinion and expression

Table 2:     The reverse chronology of his ordeal since the detention

Table 3:    The Log of our Letters campaigning for Mr. Rashidi

Table 4:     The proxy Sentence and its English translation – we call this proxy because the Revolutionary Court did not issue their document calling this case to be political but allowed its transcription. This ploy is not unique as there many similar cases.

Mr. Rashidi is a journalist and a researcher and therefore the right to freedom of expression and association is fundamental to him and all the people like him. His achievements by publishing some 150 articles can be envy of any illustrious scholar but in Iran they are taken against him. We are intrigued by this and as he was denied of access to a lawyer of his choice and the trial was in a closed session, our only explanation is that the Judge was justifying a premeditated decision.

In order to manage the risk of reprisal against Mrs. Rashidi by the Iranian authorities, we have not consulted him or his representative in compiling this Communication. In the meantime, we believe that the injustice against Mr. Rashidi can only be alleviated by your intervention. His case is before you and 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

Table 1: Communication to Safeguard the Entitlement of Mr Hesen Rashidi to Freedom of Expression and Association

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;

Name:                         Mr Hesen Rashidi

Age,                            28 June 1954, birth certificate was issued in Mughan, Southern Azerbaijan, Iran

Gender,                      Male

Address,                    Iran, Karaj, Villa Mehr, PO Box, 31375-347

Ethnic background    He is a Southern Azerbaijani national, a citizen of the Islamic Republic of Iran. A renowned journalist, who promotes Azerbaijani Turkic identity against a background of racist policies waged by the Iranian authorities.

Profession;                Civil Engineer by profession and a journalist, orator and cultural activist

Views                         Mr. Rashidi is a cultural activists and engaged in research about Southern Azerbaijani history and culture; delivers lectures in conferences on diverse issues including linguistics. He is a prolific writer with some 150 published articles of various sizes and 2 published book. On political issues, he is well-known for moderation and federalism and safeguarding the Azerbaijani Turkic rights and identity.

Affiliations                  In Iran, non-conformist organizations are persecuted by the Ministry of Intelligence. Mr. Rashidi advocates national interests of Southern Azerbaijan within the norms of human rights and the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He is a representative of the national movement of Southern Azerbaijan. The national movement of Southern Azerbaijan has not been institutionalized due to severe persecutions and therefore there is no political organization for affiliation. He is affiliated to Nevid Azerbaijan, which is a journal and contributes into many students’ publications. Nevid Azerbaijan was shut down by the authority but after trials, the license-holder was cleared and therefore it has resumed publication. He also contributed to Dilmac and Varliq.

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

                                    He has delivered talks in various conferences. Some of his activities are recounted in the sentence issued by the authorities.

Information on other specific activities relating to the alleged violation.

                                    Mr. Rashidi has been summoned for interrogations several times but was not detained. However, the detention this time was believed to be related to the May 2006 Mass Protests that swept through Southern Azerbaijan in relation to the State-sponsored abuse of the national integrity of Azerbaijani Turks. Amnesty International (A.I.) describes this as follow:

                                    A.I. MDE 13/055/2006 on 26 May 2006:

                                                The above named individuals and hundreds of others, who are members of the
Azerbaijani Turkic minority community, have been arrested during and following
widespread and ongoing demonstrations in north-western Iran. They are
reportedly held incommunicado and it is feared that they are at risk of torture
and ill-treatment.


The demonstrations began following the publication of a cartoon in the daily
state-owned newspaper Iran on 12 May which offended many in the Azerbaijani Turkic
community. The newspaper was suspended on 23 May and the editor in chief and the cartoonist arrested.


Azerbaijani Turkic students at universities in cities such as Tehran and Tebriz were
the initial demonstrators. However, protests spread throughout cities such as
Tebriz, Urmu, Erdebil, Maragha and Zenjan in north-west Iran, where the
population is predominantly Azerbaijani Turkic.


Demonstrations have grown dramatically, and in Tebriz alone around 300,000 to
500,000 people are said to have taken part in protests on 22 May. Hundreds of
demonstrators are said to have been arrested and on 24 May, the Commander for
Law Enforcement Force confirmed that around 60 people had been detained at each
of the disturbances.
[Transcription of the names was refined in the above text to be consistent with the Azerbaijani transcription style.]

                                    The huge preparation for the demonstration in Tehran was dealt with iron-fist policies and for a number of days many people were arrested. Mr. Rashidi was one of many.

 

2. Allegation regarding a medium of communication:

A description of the alleged infringement on the right:

                                    Mr. Rashidi is a prolific writer and journalist. His freedom to exercise his right to expression has been infringed. A clear testimony for this is the proxy Sentence, where his intellectual activities, envy of any accomplished person, are all taken against him. The accusations brought against Mr. Rashidi are:

1.       Publicity activities against the system and publicity to the opposition;

2.       Illegal gatherings, taking part in them; creating unusual noise in these gatherings;

3.       Undermining public order;

4.       Teaching the Turkish language in the Teacher Training University;

5.       Writing articles for promoting ethnicity, separatism in student publications;

6.       Taking part in the seminar for the national unity on 25 December 2006 at the Teacher Training University of Karaj and supporting the Tribe of the Turk.

7.       As a teacher of the Turkic language, incited ethnic tensions. Acted as the leading hand behind the recent gatherings in Azerbaijan and Tehran and playing an effective role.

8.       As a human right reporter, passed intelligence information to the BBC and internal and foreign news agencies related to the clashes and violence (reportages from the Ministry of Information)

9.       Upholds federalism and has written an article in the Periodical Dilmaj on this subject in 2005.

10.    Delivered a speech in the University of Science and Technology (Date: 3 June 2006); there mentioned that silence is not the sign of content but this may entail a storm behind; being irresponsibly in the university, teaching and giving speeches there, organising a Committee for defending and gathering finance for the families of the detainees and those who lost their lives in the riots and rebellion.

11.    Sending short zipped messages to the various people, taking part in illegal gatherings in front of the Islamic Parliament of Iran, and giving an interview to the BBC.

The above as accusations are incredible and Amnesty International maintains a clear course that these are not recognisable as charges in international law. However, they are clearly intended to gag this journalist and infringe his right to the human right of freedom of expression and association.

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

                                    Mr. Rashidi’s contributed into Nevid Azerbaijan, with a circulation of 20,000 and students’ publications normally have a circulation of 500. Nevid Azerbaijan is a commercial medium but the others are normally high quality information channels without any serious commercial significance.

                                   

Political orientation of the medium (if relevant).

                                    All these publications wisely and normally steer clear of politics. The publications would normally employ the following failsafe guidelines:

·        Would reflect on current affairs without politics

·        Would concentrate on cultural issues

·        Would remind arbitrary acts and tactfully criticize them

·        Would emphasize on the Iranian Constitution and the application of the appropriate clauses related to ethnic rights

·        Would promote human rights

·        Would be uncompromising on the right to education in mother tongue, which has been completely denied by Iranian authorities to Southern Azerbaijanis

·        Would be promoting all the other national and human rights of Southern Azerbaijanis

3. Information regarding the alleged perpetrators:

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

It is known that there was no warrant when Mr. Rashidi was abducted or arrested by three individuals without giving their names, ranks or their affiliations. This is typical and extremely odd if they introduce their details. There was no specification of any law by which Mr. Rashidi was arrested or detained.

 

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;

In this case the medium is the journalist who is intentionally gagged by the State. The perpetration by the acts of arresting and detaining as well as by gagging is not invoked by any statute but is all by arbitrary acts. See the nature o the charges presented in Section 2.

 

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;

All we know for sure is that Mr. Rashidi was arrested by three individuals. It is impossible to provide the details of the agents, as the Iranian authorities are extremely careful to cover their tracks.

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. The nature of the charges, presented in Section 2, are clear indications that indeed:

·        The government through the Ministry of Information is thoroughly involved in investigating honourable individuals and citizens by sending their overt agents into meetings, seminars and providing reports.

·        The Ministries of Information and Ministry of Interior Affairs (prison and detentions authorities) act on the reports and brings them as charges against the individuals concerned

·        The Ministry of Justice also accepts them with a blind eye and prosecutes the individuals concerned.

·        For instance, it is clear by deductions that the agent of the Ministry of Information reported on Mr. Rashidi’s teaching Azerbaijani Turkic in a teacher training university; the interrogators would press this as a charge against Mr. Rashidi (the interrogation sessions was certainly without the presence of a lawyer); and the Judge appointed by the Ministry of Justice tried Mr. Rashidi for the charge of teaching Azerbaijani Turkic in a closed session court without the presence of a lawyer. The same is true for all the other charges.

6. Further Information:

Mr. Rashidi was tried on 4 September 2006 and the sentence was published on 27 October 2006. One year of imprisonment was passed against Mr. Rashidi according to Article 55 of the Islamic Penal Code but the jailing act was suspended for five years according to Article 25 (not specified of what legal code). He has been given the right to appeal. An appeal was apparently submitted on in the first week of November and outcome may be released anytime.

We should mention that the interrogations were all carried out without the presence of a lawyer, let alone the lawyer of his choice. Also the court hearings were in closed sessions and without the presence of a lawyer. All the indications are that the sentence was premeditated.

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 Reverse Chronology of the Detention of Mr. Hesen Rashidi

 

Date

Events

First week of November

·      The appeal has apparently been submitted in the first week of November and the outcome may be released anytime now.

27 October 2006

·      The Sentence was published in the Southern Azerbaijani websites

 

·      Attended the trial (məhkəmə navaxt olmuş?)

26 Sep. 2006

·      Released on bail after 3 months of arbitrary detention

4 Sep. 2006

·      The trail in a closed session and without access to a lawyer

30 August 2006

·      A planned attendance to the Court.

·      However this court proceeding never materialized on this, as it was told the judge is on holiday and will probably be back in two weeks time.

20 August

·      The right for family visits are stripped and no more telephone calls to the family

·      Also it was learned today that the detention date was on 4th July after a court proceeding and it is expected that an extention to the detention will be through a court proceedings on the 30th of August

15 August

·      Mrs. Rashidi was allowed five minutes of visit under the strict condition that conversation must be in Farsi and in the presence of prison authorities.

·      He was in high morale despite kidney problems.

16 July 2006

·      Mrs. Mohterem Rashidi (Mehemmedi), the wife of Mr. Rashidi informed the Voice of America that the charge of “contacting aliens” has been brought against her husband. She dismissed the accusations.

·      She also informed  the repression experience by her family – Source:

·      http://128.11.143.113/azeri/figleaf/ramfilegenerate.cfm?filepath=http%3A%2F%2F128%2E11%2E143%2E113%2Fmediaassets%2Fazerbaijani%2F2006%5F07%2FAudio%2Fra%2Firanmehbuslari%2Era

12 July 2006

·      His wife learned after a visit to the prison that the accusations brought against her husband are “propaganda against the system” and “contacts with aliens”

6 July 2006

·      His family members had the permit for a visit but after long hours of waiting, finally they were refused by the prison authorities stating that it is forbidden to visit Hesen Rashidi and the previous visit was also illegal.

4 July 2006

·      Transferred to Wing 209 of Evin Prison, Tehran, apparently after being to a court; he is suffering from stomach problems

2 July 2006

·      Arrested in his office at 14.00 p.m. at the Metro Construction Company near the Junction of Sadiqiyye. No reason was given for the arrest.

Prior to the detention

·      Summoned several times to the Ministry of Information for interrogations

 

Table 3: The Log of our Letters campaigning for Mr. Rashidi

Indirect Correspondences:

Ref:  xxx/ 2006 on 5 July 2006

Ref:  375/ 2006 on 5 September 2006

Ref:  360/ 2006 on 11 August 2006

Ref:  3xx/ 2006 on 16 July 2006

Ref:  383/ 2006 on 17 September 2006

Ref:  365/ 2006 on 19 August 2006 

 

Table 4: The Sentence Passed to Engineer Hesen Rashidi

The Sentence Passed to Engineer Hesen Rashidi

by Islamic Revolutionary Court, Tehran

The Branch 13 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Tehran passed its Sentence to the case of Engineer Hesen Rashidi on Saturday, 21 October 2006. He was sentenced to one year of punitive imprisonment suspended for five years.

Some of the charges brought to Hesen Rashidi are as follows:

1.       Publicity activities against the system and publicity to the opposition;

2.       Illegal gatherings, taking part in them; creating unusual noise in these gatherings;

3.       Undermining public order;

4.       teaching the Turkish language in the Teacher Training University;

5.       Writing articles for promoting ethnicity, separatism in student publications;

6.       Taking part in the seminar for the national unity on 25 December 2006 at the Teacher Training University of Karaj and supporting the Tribe of the Turk.

7.       As a teacher of the Turkic language, incited tribal tensions. Acted as the leading hand behind the recent gatherings in Azerbaijan and Tehran and playing an effective role.

8.       As a human right reporter, has passed intelligence information to the BBC and internal and foreign news agencies related to the clashes and violence (reportages from the Ministry of Information)

9.       Upholds federalism and has written an article in the Periodical Dilmaj on this subject in 2005.

10.   Delivered a speech in the University of Science and Technology (Date: 3 June 2006); there mentioned that silence is not the sign of content but this may entail a storm behind; being irresponsibly in the university, teaching and giving speeches there, organising a Committee for defending and gathering finance for the families of the detainees and those who lost their lives in the riots and rebellion.

11.   Sending short zipped messages to the various people, taking part in illegal gatherings in front of the Islamic Parliament of Iran, and giving an interview to the BBC.

The Accusations towards publicities against the system of Islamic Republic is express and certain. Thus, according to Article 500 of the Penal Islamic Code, the above named person is sentenced to one year of imprisonment, where the days spent in detention are considered. However, having considered the conditions of the accused and with regard to Article 25, this jail term is suspended for 5 years. Should he violate again the conditions, the sentence shall be carried out. …

Appeals may be submitted with twenty days to the Appeal Court of Tehran.

Note: Engineer Hesen Rashidi objected to the issued sentence and will submit his appeal within 20 days.

Source Document: the Proxy Sentence (compiled by Mr. Rashidi when his sentence was passed)

اعلام حکم صادره از طرف دادگاه  انقلاب اسلامی تهران به مهندس حسن راشدی:

روز شنبه 29/7/85 حکم صادره از طرف دادگاه شعبه 13 انقلاب اسلامی تهران به مهندس حسن راشدی اعلام گردید.  وی به یکسال حبس تعلیقی به مدت 5 سال محکوم گردیده است !

قسمتی از اتهامات وارده :

فعالیت تبلیغی علیه نظام و تبلیغ به نفع گروهای مخالف و اجتماع و تبانی و تجمع غیر قانونی و شرکت در تجمع غیر قانونی و تشویق سایرین جهت شرکت در تجمع یاد شده و ایجاد هیاهو و جنجال غیر متعارف، اخلال در نظم عمومی ... به عنوان مدرس زبان ترکی در دانشگاه تربیت معلم، نوشتن مقاله قوم گرایی و تجزیه طلبی در نشریات دانشجویی، شرکت در سمینار وحدت ملی و چالش ها در تاریخ 4/10/84 در دانشگاه تربیت معلم (کرج) و طرفداری از قوم ترک.

به عنوان مدرس زبان ترکی فعالیت داشته و باعث تحریک قومی شده است. از عناصر اصلی و پشت پرده در اجتماعات اخیر آذربایجان و تهران بوده و نقش موثری را ایفا کرده است.

رساندن اخبار اطلاعات راجع به درگیری ها و اغتشاشات به خبرگزاری های داخلی و خارجی، خبرنگار BBC و حقوق بشر (گزارش اطلاعات استان تهران)

اعتقاد به فدرالیسم با نوشتن مقاله تحت عنوان فدرالیسم در مجله دیلماج سال 1384.

سخنرانی در دانشگاه علم و صنعت (در تاریخ 13/3/85) و گفتن سکوت نشانه رضایت نیست ممکن است طوفانی به دنبال داشته باشد، حضور غیر مسئولانه در دانشگاه و تدریس و سخنرانی، تشکیل کمیته به عنوان دفاع از خانواده های دستگیر شدگان و یا کشته شدگان اغتشاشات اخیر و سرکشی جهت کمک مالی به آنها.

ارسال پیام های کوتاه ضیط شده به اشخاص، شرکت در تجمع غیر قانونی در جلوی مجلس شورای اسلامی، مصاحبه با رادیو  .BBC

اتهام در حد فعالیت تبلیغی علیه نظام جمهوری اسلامی محرز و مسلم است، مستندا به ماده 500 قانون مجازات اسلامی نامبرده به یک سال حبس با احتساب ایام بازداشت قبلی محکوم و با توجه به وضعیت متهم با رعایت ماده 25 برای مدت 5 سال معلق می دارد، و در مدت تعلیق مرتکب جرمی گردد اجرا شود....

در صورت اعتراض قابل تجدید نظر خواهی در دادگاه تجدید نظر استان تهران می باشد.

......................................................................

مهندس حسن راشدی به حکم صادره اعتراض کرده و لازم است اعتراض خود را در طول مدت 20 روز به صورت کتبی به دادگاه ارائه دهد.

print    forward    download

main page      up

 

info@dunazhak.net