No.: 449/ 2007

Date: 20 March 2007

International Women’s Day in Tebriz, Southern Azerbaijan and its victim: Mrs. Nesrin Babai

BMT, İnsan Haqları üzrə Ali Komissarlığı, Cenevrə

            Lütfən bu İlətişməni fikir və bəyan sərbəstliyini qorumaq üzrə Özəl Raporterə çatdırasınız. Eləcə də bu İlətişmə aşagıdakı Özəl Raporterlərə də dəxli var:

·         Qadınlara qarşı zorakılıq yürütmək üzrə Özəl Raporter

·         Öz-xoşuna tutuqlular üzrə Çalışan Qrup;

·         Qazıların müstəqilliyi üzrə Özəl raporter; və

·         Çağdaş irqçilik, irqi ayrı-seçkilik və qatlaşmazlıq üzrə Özəl Raporter.

CC    Mrs. Harrison and Mr. Dyke, Amnesty International, London

 

 

Azərbaycan Türkcəsində: Dünya Qadınlar Günü Qutlu Olsun

Dear sir/madam,

Re    COMMUNICATION ON MRS. Nasrin BABAI, A SOUTHERN AZERBAIJANI ACTIVIST, ABDUCTED IN RELATION TO INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

Please find enclosed a new Communication submitted for safeguarding human rights of Mrs. Babai, a Southern Azerbaijani activist who was abducted in relations to marking the International Women’s Day in Tebriz, the capital of Southern Azerbaijan. This year, Southern Azerbaijani woman’s right activists joined the rank-and-file of the national movement of Southern Azerbaijan and emphasised the importance of mother language. We learned that Mrs. Babai, one of these activists was arrested in Tebriz, while distributing a leaflet. The attached supporting materials are compiled as follows:

Table 1: Presents the information for the attention of the Special Raporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression of Mrs. Babai

Table 2: Reproduces the English translation of the letter by Mrs. Babai to her MP in campaigning for her husband, Mr. Okhtay Babai, a prisoner of conscience, who was arrested in relation to the May 2006 Mass Protests sweeping Southern Azerbaijan.

The attached documents draw attention to the case of Mrs. Babai. She was arrested on 295th day of her husband’s jail term. Her family has been denied the right of access to visit her but she has made one telephone call to her family since the detention. It is believed that Mrs. Babai is at risk of torture and therefore your campaign for her immediate and unconditional release is needed urgently.

In order to manage the risk of reprisal against Mrs. Babai and her family by the Iranian authorities, we have not consulted her family in compiling this Communication. Once again we appeal to your kind attention to act swiftly in mobilising your campaign for the release of Mrs. Babai.

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 Caption reads “Dünya Qadınlar Günü Qutlu Olsun”

Source for the above photos: many Azerbaijani websites including http://www.azadtribun.net/x1881.htm
 

Table 1: Communication to Safeguard the Entitlement of Mrs. Nesrin Babai (Rezevi)

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. Babai, the wife of a prisoner of conscience, Mr. Okhtay (Mehdi) Babai. She has been under a constant intimidation by Iranian authorities in a variety of ways for being the wife of a prisoner of conscience including telephone calls, stalking, socially isolating the family by frightening visitors including friends and relatives. These are based on the information given issued by her letter, a translation of which was provided to you as per our Communication Ref: 375/2006 on 5 September 2006. Regrettably, these intimidations and threats materialised when she was abducted in relation to the International Women’s Day, as detailed below.

Name:                        Mrs. Nesrin Babai Ejebshir (her first name may also be transcribed as Nasrin, or Nasreen; her marriage surname may be transcribed as: Babaei Ajabshir; and her maiden name is Rezevi, which may be transcribed as Razavi).

Age,                            20 years old

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 is an ardent campaigner for (i) the her husband, which is a prisoner of conscience, (ii) the official recognition of mother tongue of Azerbaijani Turkic, and (iii) women’s right in Southern Azerbaijan.

Profession;                We do not have a direct information on her job.

Views                         Mrs. Babai stands for the feminist movement in Southern Azerbaijan. Mrs. Babai is also an ardent campaigner for the official reinstatement of the status of Azerbaijani Turkic, the mother language of 30 million Southern Azerbaijanis.

                                    Mrs. Babai also 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 13/093/2006 issued on 17 September 2006; http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/engmde130932006. 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 Mrs. Babai is not known if she affiliates to any organization.

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

                                    To our knowledge, Mrs. Babai does not participate in any political, social or labour activity. However, according to the news received and confirmed by our own sources, she was active by distributing leaflets on the occasion of the International Women’s Day, at which time she was arrested.

Information on other specific activities relating to the alleged violation.

                                    The published information is specific that Mrs. Babai was arrested when distributing leaflets among the people on the International Women’s Day.

                                    One report is clear that, she was the author of the leaflet and had photocopied it at her own costs by selling her wedding ring to meet the cost and mitigate the financial hardship that she is undergoing in the absence of her husband, who is a prisoner of conscience.

                                    She was arrested in the District of Pervaz of Tebriz, in the afternoon on 11 March 2007 by military units of the Islamic Republic of Iran. She has been taken to an undisclosed location and still there is no information on her whereabouts.

                                    Whilst her family has no information on her whereabouts therefore they have been denied the right of access to their loved one. She also has no access to a lawyer, let alone a lawyer of her choice. Our latest information is that she has made one telephone call to her family from an undisclosed location in detention.

2. Allegation regarding a medium of communication:

A description of the alleged infringement on the right:

                                    Mrs. Babai is demonstrably an activist and campaigns for women’s right, the right to education in mother language and the national rights of Southern Azerbaijanis. As she was arrested for distributing leaflets on International Women’s Day, therefore her right to the freedom of speech and association has been violated.

 


 

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

                                    As outlined above, Mrs. Babai was financing the leaflets on her own costs by selling her wedding ring. Generally, the State would deny her and anyone like her to have access to mass media but demonstrably, the State even fears such a meagre activity and therefore she is at risk of torture.

Political orientation of the medium (if relevant).

                                    We are not aware of any political orientation, other than the solid commitment of Mrs. Babai and the family, by and large, to purely democratic means and the exercise of human right principles.

3. Information regarding the alleged perpetrators:

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

The reports are specific that Mrs. Babai was arrested by military units whilst the city of Tebriz is now highly militarised. The names of the agents arresting Mrs. Babai have not been identified.  They are normally harboured by the Ministry of Intelligence. These are often nebulous overtly organized militia groups that are heard of but not seen. It is impossible to be more specific than this.

 

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 arrested Mrs. Babai, 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.

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 Reproduction of the Mrs. Babai’s Letter Campaigning for her Husband

The letter below is a reproduction of our Communication on Mr. Okhtay Babai, a Southern Azerbaijani prisoner of conscience arbitrarily imprisoned by the Iranian Authorities. His wife, the victim defended in this new communication, arduously campaigns for her husband and this is a translation of her letter. See Our Correspondence Ref: 375/2006 on 5 September 2006

 

Dear sir,

I am the wife of Mr. Mehdi BABAI Ejebshir (Okhtay). I regret to mention that by writing this letter I am running a certain risk, as security agents of the Ministry of Intelligence of Islamic Republic of Iran have ordered us to remain silent towards my husband’s case. Recently Amnesty International published an urgent action regarding my husband, which I forwarded it for your kind attention hoping that you would act on it with urgency. However, in this case, I presume the Urgent Action did not result in a noticeable impact on the behavior of the security agents, as it is, now more than 50 days that my husband still remains under indefinite detention without any trial. The accusations against my husband are: publicity against the regime, being an element of the unrest, undermining the peace and security in the country, and communicating with foreign separatists outside the country. Together with all these, the authorities have deprived my husband from appointing a lawyer except in one occasion when he was to be acknowledged of the accusations. My question is this: Is it a crime to campaign to educate our children in our mother tongue, Turkic Azerbaijani? If it is, why do the authorities avoid trying my husband? And to whom should I refer regarding my sufferings? I keep receiving threatening calls from security agents now and then ordering me not to talk to anyone. Else, I would be arrested.

My husband was tortured for 10 days in the detention unit attached to the Ministry of Intelligence, in the Baghshumal Roundabout, Tebriz. He has now been transferred to Wing 5 allocated for political prisoners and is not under direct tortures. It is only a few days ago that both my mother-in-low and I were allowed to visit him. Here we found out that still he is pressurized to take part in a forced television interview but so far he has managed to resist vehemently their demand.

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 dishonor of 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. My request from you is to please take up the case in breaking the mole in the case of my husband and other political prisoners of (Southern) Azerbaijan.

N.B.

Azərbaijani Turkic

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