Date: 18 March 2007
Dear Mrs. Harrison and Mr. Drewery,
Re OUR THOUGHTS ARE WITH SOUTHERN AZERBAIJANI PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE BEFORE THE FESTIVITY OF THE SPRING EQUINOX – THE BAYRAM
The nation of Azerbaijan is preparing to celebrate the “Bayram” but this year our thoughts are with unspecified number of prisoners of conscience all over Southern Azerbaijan, deprived of their liberty by the Iranian authorities. Their numbers probably reach one hundred, where last year this time we only had a few to be concerned with a few. The Bayram festivity in Azerbaijani Turkic refers to the spring equinox and its tradition goes back to Sumerians. It is a family day in Azerbaijan and the folk’s way of remembering each other, specially the lost ones and the absent ones.
As your valuable statements bear a witness, these Southern Azerbaijani prisoners of conscience are innocent and yet despite your outspoken campaigns and likewise the assumed confidential campaigns by OHCHR, Iranian authorities keep violating their obligations towards the nation of Southern Azerbaijan and to the International community. Further evidence to the arbitrary acts of Iranian authorities is that these prisoners of conscience stand the risk of being deprived of access to their families on this very important day.
We would like to draw your attention to the ordeal suffered by:
· Mrs. Nesrin Rezevi was arrested on the International Women’s Day. Her husband is Mr. Okhtay Babai, a prisoner of conscience since the May 2006 Mass Protests. The authorities are refusing to inform her family on her whereabouts and therefore her family has nowhere to refer to.
· Mr. Jelil Qenilu arrested in Zengan on 21 February 2007 on the International Mother Language Day
· Mr. Adil Shekuri and Ibrahim Shekuri arrested on 14 February 2007 in Julfa
· Geshtasb Vasiqi and Mahmud Aslani, two prisoners of conscience from Tebriz and arrested in Erdebil
Whilst the above have no access to their family and to any lawyer, our information indicates the following prisoners of conscience will remain deprived of their liberty on the day of Bayram festivity:
· Mr. Abbas Leysanli in Erdebil Prison,
· Mr. Elyaz Yekanlı in Urmu Prison,
· Mr. Mehdi Babai in Tebriz Prison,
· Mr. Eli Emini in Tebriz Prison,
· Mr. Hadi Sərkhosh in Urmu Prison ,
· Behruz Elizade in Erdebil Prison.
We appeal for your campaigns for these prisoners of conscience and in particular for Nesrin Rezevi and Jelil Qenilu.
The Committee for the Defence of the Rights of World Azerbaijanis