No.: 446/2007

Date: 4 March  2007

 

The Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva,

                Please circulate this Communication to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights defenders, also this of interest to:

·          Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers

·         The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

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

·         The Independent Expert on Minority Issues

CC      Mrs. Harrison, Amnesty International, London

            UNESCO and various news media

 

 

Seid Metinpur

Dear sir/madam

Re     COMMUNICATION ON MR. SEID METINPUR

Please find enclosed Communication on Mr. Seid Metinpur for safeguarding human rights of the distinguished human rights defender of Southern Azerbaijan, who is being persecuted arbitrarily by Iranian authorities. The documents provided for your attention are:

Table 1:  The Communication form for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights defenders, using published information and those from our own sources

Table 2:  Some published information explaining the circumstances leading to his persecution, including 10 days of detention and the release on bail.

We would like to stress that in compiling this Communication, we have not consulted with Mr. Metinpur or his family. This is necessary to mention to manage the risk of reprisal by the Iranian authorities against him.

Mr. Metinpur is one of more than hundred individuals who were persecuted for celebrating the International Mother Language Day by the nation of Southern Azerbaijan. He is faced with nonsensical risk of being tried in the future for this activity.

Our aim by this communication is to open up a case for him and should the Iranian authorities go ahead with trying him, then you can take up his case. Thank you in advance for your care.

Yours sincerely,

Boyuk Resuloglu

Chairperson of the Committee for the Defence of the Rights of World Azerbaijanis
 

Table 1           Communication on Mr. Seid Metinpur

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights defenders

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

United Nations

1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

FAX:  (41 22) 917 90 06

1.         Information regarding the alleged victim

1.1       Full name

            Seid Metinpur (His name was also transcribed by Amnesty International from the Arabic script according to Farsi, as Sa’id Metinpour)

1.2       Age

            20 September 1975

1.3       Sex

            Male

1.4       Profession or occupation

            Journalist

1.5       Place of residence (or origin, if relevant to the violation suffered)

            The Southern Azerbaijani city of Zengan, in Iran

1.6       The victim’s affiliation, if any, with an organization, association or group engaged in human rights work:

            Please refer to the attachment

1.6.1    Name of the organization, association or group

Please refer to the attachment

1.6.2    Name of the person heading the organization, association or group

                The victim is a human right defender and a webblog writer. He is independent and as far as we know he is not affiliated to any organisation.

1.6.3    Nature of human rights work the individual performs

1. He is outspoken in defence of Rza Abbasi (see our Communication: Ref: 433/2007 on 3 January 2007-02-28)

2. He is an arduous campaigner for the mother language of Azerbaijani Turkic, see the attached list

1.7       If the alleged violation is against an organization:

1.7.1    Name of the organization

1.7.2    Nature of the human rights work/activities it is engaged in

            An important theme in victim’s activities is the defence of mother tongue and the victim was arrested when celebrating the International Mother Language  Day

1.7.3    Territorial scope of its work (national, regional, international)

             His activities cover the whole of Southern Azerbaijan and in particular his own region of Zengan

1.7.4    Affiliations with other human rights organizations, if any

1.7.5    Name of person(s) heading the organization

            Not Applicable

1.7.6    Additional information on the history of the work the individual or organization has performed, if submitted, may be helpful in assessing the complaint/allegation.

2.         Nature of the alleged violation

            All relevant information regarding the violation allegedly committed against the human rights defender, or organization, association or group, including:

            According to the evidence detailed in Table 2, the victim was arrested in relation to celebrating the International Day of Mother Language in Zengan.

2.1       Date

            21 February 2007, in the afternoon, probably around 4-6 p.m.

2.2       Place

Zengan, Sebze Square, City Centre

2.3       Description of the events/incident

More than thousand people turned up for the celebration of a well-publicised rally in the city centre in Zengan. Scores of people arrived with a festivity mood, distributing sweets among each other. The authorities were acting in an obstructionist fashion all the way through. Evidence for rounding up and a systematic arresting is in the attached report in Table 2, which describes a young woman was arrested while she was passing by and others were also arrested in their workplaces through a systematic wave of repression. We know the name of at least 28 victims but there is yet no official press release. Mr. Metinpur, the victim described here was arrested in the city centre, Sebze Square, Zengan.

2.4       Nature of violation suffered or threatened (The information must indicate the connection of the alleged violation to human rights activities performed.)

            Reports indicate that generally, the police attacked the arrested victims and subjected them to physical violence.

2.5       If the violation involves or includes the arrest and/or imprisonment of an individual or group of human rights defenders, information is required on:

            In general, there is reliable information that the victims were subjected to physical violence during and possibly after the arrest. In the case of Mr. Metinpur, a report by his wife, Mrs. Etiyye Metinpur informs us that there was blood in his lip when he was taken away by the arresting officials, suggesting that he was assaulted ( http://www.hbayat.com/) .

2.6       Identity of the authority involved (individual and/or ministry and/or department)

            It is invariably the Ministry of Intelligence involved with these types of illegal acts. In this case the police was also involved. The names of the individual agents/police committing the act of arrest are not known, nor those who were beating up the rally participants.

2.7       Date and place of arrest

21 February 2007

                Sebze Square, City Centre, Zengan.

2.8       Any circumstances under which the arrest was made that are relevant to the violation

            We have provided you reliable information in Table 2, where it explicitly states there are no official press release. Even the authorities are denying that there has been any arrest, let alone any detention. However, the reporter with the state licence confirms that 26 individuals have been arrested, with the 8 under detention. All the arrests are in relation to the celebration of International Mother Language Day. Three more has been released since then. All together four individuals were arrested with the surname Metinpur, two female and two male. Three of the Metinpir’s have been released bu Mr. Seid Metinpur is still in detention. Mr. Seid Metinpur was only released on Saturday 3 March 2007.

2.9       Nature of charges, if any, and the legal statute invoked

            The reporter as detailed in Table 2 of this Communication quotes two officials who contradict the arresting of any individual but definitely there are no imputed charges yet.               

2.10     Potential penalties the individual or group faces

            The precedence is that the colluding authorities have a free hand and they impose harsh jail terms from a few months to a few years and as a reflection of their racist policies, their sentences include flogging to humiliate the Southern Azerbaijani advocates of the national movement.

2.11     Place of detention, if known -

2.12     Term of detention

2.13     Information on the provision of access to legal counsel and family members

            As far as we know, Mr. Metinpur had no access to a lawyer.

2.14     Steps taken to seek administrative or judicial remedy, nature of the remedy sought, legal entity before which proceedings have been taken, and stage or result of such proceedings

            As detailed in Table 2, the families of the arrested ones gathered in front of the building at Headquarter No. 2 of Security Forces the detention facility to canvass for the release of the victims. The Metinpur families were not successful but in time they have all been released on bail: ( http://www.haqqimiz.blogfa.com/)

2.15     If the defender is being prosecuted in the courts for any activity in defence of human rights or related activity, or as a consequence of such activity:

            The defender is on bail and therefore he now stands the risk of being prosecuted for the defence of human rights on mother language and we will issue updates if other charges are brought against him.

2.15.1 The date and location of the trial

2.15.2 The court hearing the case

2.15.3 The relevant appeal procedures

2.15.4 The penalties the group or individual faces    -

3.         Perpetrator(s) of the alleged violation

3.1       Name(s), if known

            We consistently maintain that the authorities are extremely careful to cover their track on matters related to the politics or national and human rights of Southern Azerbaijanis. So all the perpetrators are harboured dearly by the authorities.

3.2       If they are members of the security forces, their rank, functions, the unit or service, etc., to which they belong

            Please refer to 3.1, above.

3.3       If they are members of a civil defence group, paramilitary or other forces or an armed group, details on whether or how these groups relate to the State (e.g. cooperation with the State security forces, including information on chains of command, if available, State collusion with or acquiescence in their operations)

             Please refer to 3.1, above.

4.         Steps taken by or on behalf of the victim or organization to seek a remedy at the national level

4.1       All relevant information regarding whether a complaint was filed

            Family members canvassed but this was unsuccessful.

                 Also, in relation to the celebration of the International Mother Language Day in Zengan, the Islamic Society of Student of the Zengan University have protested to the ill-treatments by the police against the rallying individuals stating that according to Article 27 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, “these rallies and group associations are free if no weapon is carried and if it does not violate the Islamic foundations.” They have asked the members of the Islamic Majles to take up the matter before the right authorities to secure justice for the nation.

4.2       If so, when, where, by whom and before which authority

             In front of the building at Headquarter No. 2 of Security Forces the detention facility, Zengan

5.         Steps taken by the concerned authorities

5.1       Whether or not an investigation or inquiry into the alleged violation has been initiated and/or concluded

             This is not really relevant in Iran when the victims are promoting the national and human rights for the nation of Southern Azerbaijan. The authorities are then most brutal and many organisations collude with one another including: the judiciary system attached to the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Information, Ministry of Interior responsible for prisons, the police and many paramilitary organisations. We are definitely not expecting any governmental investigation.

5.2       If so, by which authority, ministry or department of the Government

             Please refer to 5.1, above.

5.3       Progress and status of the inquiry or investigation at the time of submission of the allegation

             Please refer to 5.1, above.

5.4       Whether or not the investigation or inquiry has resulted in charges or other legal action

             Please refer to 5.1, above.

5.5       If so, the reason why the result is unsatisfactory

             Please refer to 5.1, above.

5.6       Measures, if any, taken to protect person(s) under threat

             Please refer to 5.1, above.

6.         The violation alleged may not be the result of one incident or event, but may be a continuing violation owing to conditions, policies, practices or laws that obstruct the promotion, protection and/or realization of human rights

More background to this is given in our report 447/2007 on 4 March 2007.

6.1       All relevant information regarding such conditions, policies, practices or laws

6.2       The nature of the prejudice suffered by an individual or group(s) working for the defence of human rights because of the above

            Some of the symptoms of the racist policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran include:

·         Undermining the economical integrity of Southern Azerbaijan

·         The environment of Southern Azerbaijan is approaching a disaster, where the Iranian authorities regard our homelands as their backyard.

·         They are balkanising Azerbaijan and undermining its territorial integrity.

·         The prejudice is widespread, as our mother tongue is treated in contempt and as a sure sign of separatism. There is no single classroom in our mother tongue and the nation is extremely upset about this and this is not tolerated anymore. The authorities are even violating their own Constitution with appropriate provisions for education in mother tongue.

6.3       Methods used to impede the work of human rights defenders on the basis of the above conditions, policies, practices or laws

                Intimidation, detention, imprisonment, flogging, financial crippling of the victims by releases on bail or fining and also shutting down businesses under the official seal.    

 

6.4       Agencies (State, non-State) employed to harass, intimidate and/or injure human rights defenders on the basis of these conditions or in implementing such laws, practices and policies

            Security agents of the Ministry of Intelligence, paramilitary units of Basij and Pasdar, and the police        

6.5       Possible measures that can be taken to remedy the situation

            International campaign

6.6       Any action taken by individuals or groups at the national level to reverse the conditions, policies and practices or for reform of the laws that are contrary to the rights recognized by the Declaration

There are very few outspoken members of parliament and therefore not much hope for any outcome.

 

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

 

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

 


 

TABLE 2   SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS

Document 1    http://mardom-e-no.com/index.php?id=748          

این عکس مربوط به تجمع در دانشگاه زنجان است و از مراسم عصر دیروز عکسی موجود نیست.

[Translator’s note: The above foto is taken from Merdom-e-nov, as attached to this news item. Note that everyone is with a mask on their mouth. This is not signifying any health hazard but the risk to their mother tongue. Mr. Seid Metinpur is just one of the thousands’ of his fellow Zengan population celebrating the International Mother Tongue Day in silence. For this he is deprived of his liberty at this very moment.]

 

Newsreel – Security agent personnel in Zengan prevented individuals intending to participate in the rally to celebrate the International Mother Language Day.

 

According to the reporter of Merdom-e-nov, yesterday afternoon the congregating individuals intended to offer sweets for marking the day within Sebze but they were confronted with the agents who ordered them to disperse. Amid this, those individuals who were unaware of the situation were asking for the reason and the police response was that they were there to arrest villains, rascals and addicts. When one of the rally participants was faced with physical violence, the atmosphere within the easygoing rally turned to be tense. When the rally participants sang their slogans, the police responded furiously and started arresting them. According to unconfirmed reports the number of the individuals arrested reached 19.

 

In spite of the persistence of the reporters to find out the details, there is no official press release and no accurate information on the fate of the victims from the right authorities.

Document 2 A Report by Merdom-nov – A daily Newspaper Published in the Southern Azerbaijani Provincial Capital of Zengan: Source: http://mardom-e-no.com/index.php?id=768                

Reporter: Rza She’bani and Mehemmed Rejebi

Only 19 of the people arrested in Zengan on 21 February 2007 were released due to canvassing of the families in front of the building at Headquarter No. 2 of Security Forces.

According to the report by the daily Merdom-e-nov, approximately 35 individuals including men, women and children gathered in front of the building at Headquarter No. 2 on Thursday the 22nd of February to campaign for the release of those arrested due to celebrating the International Mother Language Day.

Their presence was concluded with the release of 19 individuals. Wednesday the 21st was the celebration day for the International Mother Language Day, where people gathered for a city-wide celebration.

According to eyewitness accounts, the police disperse the congregating people by resorting to physical violence against some and by arresting some other. Although the Medom-e-nov reporters pursued the matter to learn the name of the victims from the security forces stationed in Zengan, this was in vain as they did not release any information, not even disclosed the whereabouts of the victims.

Thus, the only way to obtain the statistic on the arrested victims was to make enquiries from the family members in front of the Headquarter No. 2 of Zengan.

Persistence of the reporters of Merdom-e-nov led to identifying the names of some 26 victims, whose names are:

1.   Seid Metinpur,                                                               2.  Jelil Qenili (Ghenilu),     

3.   Elirza Metinpur,                                                             4.   Huseyn Rehmeti

5.   Eli Rehmeti,                                                                    6.   Nasir Rehmeti,              

7.   Murtuza Muradi,                                                           8.   Mohsun Refi’I        

9.   Telnaz Ne’meti,                                                             10. Davud Ne’meti                                                             

11. Mahmud Mahajiri                                                        12. Aydin Beraderan-Muqeddem                   

13. Rehmetulla Bayat-tebar                                             14. Yusuf Mehemmedi 

15. Emir Nesiri                                                                      16. Behruz Seferi

17. Mehemmed Mehemmedi                                           18. Eyrej Mehemmedi

19. Kerim Jelili                                                                     20. Abbas Qaffari

21. Eli Mehemmedi                                                             22. Mehnaz Musevi

23. Javad Sherifi                                                                  24. Sudabe Metinpur

25. sanaz Metinpur                                                             26. Sefereli Khoiyini

Until the minutes when this report was being compiled, seven victims were still in detention and their names are: Seid Metinpur, Elirza Metinpur, Jelil Qenili, Huseyn Rehmeti, Behruz Seferi, Sefereli Khoini.

Some of the detainees explained the situation to the Merdom-e-nov reporter after being released. Nasir Rehmeti said: we were distributing leaflets in the city in relation to the International Mother Language Day when security agents resorted to physical violence against us and beat us severely until we were bungled to their vehicle. They beat me up severely in the detention facility but when I was being interrogated, I was not subjected to physical violence.

However, there were four women among the detainees.

Mehnaz Musevi, one of the detainees, explained her ordeal of detention after being released: I was going to get on to a bus, at which time two or three security agents arrested me. I did not know anything about the gathering of the people regarding the International Mother Language Day. They are telling that I am a university student but I have only studied until the first two years of high school.

The mother of this detainee has spent the night in trauma and said to the reporter: there was no stone that I left untouched after all, my daughter is our breadwinner.

Behruz Seferi’s wife also explained the way her husband was arrested: security agents arrested him in his shop at 20.00 p.m. on Wednesday.

These are in a background where Araz Ziyai, the Governor of Zengan stated to the reporter of Merdom-e-nov on telephone regarding the gathering on Wednesday that “a few individuals numbering some 20 gathered in Sebze Square and were singing slogans. There was nothing special and that was the end of the story.” He expressed no knowledge of the detainees and said: “as far as I know no one has been arrested by the police today.”

The Governor of Zengan continued: “Any association or rallying must be licensed. Anyone wishing for a group association within the city must obtain a licence from the right authorities. If anyone does not observe the regulations, they will be subjected to law.”

The Governor of Zengan did not accept that the police subjected rallying people to physical violence and explained that: I do not accept the physical violence by the police and I do not think this is true either.

Criticising the rallying group, he added: these people do not believe in Turkic language. They write the communiqué in Persian and at the end they enter the expression long live Turks (yaşasın Türk). What is wrong, if they refer to the office of the governor and seek our permission?

In this conversation the Governor of Zengan emphasised that: one needs a permit for all programs including operating xx? Station. All these people including critiques can apply for permits and get on with their program. Whilst he was denying the detainees on the 21st February, the Political Deputy of the Security Office of the Province informed that the affairs of the detainees will be evaluated rapidly and said that: the files of the detainees are within the authority of security forces and they will be appraised rapidly.

Ali Babai [translator’s note: presumably this individual is the Political Deputy of the Security Office in the Province of Zengan] promised: they will not lose much time and their files will be rapidly transferred to judiciary authorities. His opinion regarding the police treatment of the rallying individuals was that: physical violence is natural and the reason was that the rally was illegal.

Ali Babai, added that: unlicensed rallying groups should not expect any better from the police. He too did not have an accurate knowledge on the number of detainees.

Also, in relation to these events, the Islamic Society of Student of the Zengan University have protested to the ill-treatments by the police against the rallying individuals stating that according to Article 27 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, “these rallies and group associations are free if no weapon is carried and if it does not violate the Islamic foundations.” They have asked the members of the Islamic Majles to take up the matter before the right authorities to secure justice for the nation.

 Azərbaijani Turkic

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