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
qarşı zorakılıq yürütmək üzrə Özəl Raporter
tutuqlular üzrə Çalışan Qrup;
müstəqilliyi üzrə Özəl raporter; və
irqçilik, irqi ayrı-seçkilik və qatlaşmazlıq üzrə Özəl
CC Mrs. Harrison and
Mr. Dyke, Amnesty International, London
Dünya Qadınlar Günü Qutlu Olsun
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
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.
For and on behalf of
The Committee for the Defence of the Rights of World
The Caption reads “Dünya Qadınlar Günü Qutlu
Source for the above photos: many Azerbaijani
Table 1: Communication to Safeguard the Entitlement of
Mrs. Nesrin Babai (Rezevi)
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
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
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;
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
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
information is specific that Mrs. Babai was arrested when
distributing leaflets among the people on the International
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.
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
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.
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.
non-State actors, description of how they relate to the
State (e.g. cooperation with or support by State security
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;
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
It is impossible to
provide the details of the agents who arrested Mrs. Babai,
as the Iranian authorities are extremely careful to cover
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.
government, Ministry of Intelligence, their overt agents,
and Ministry of Justice officials often collude together.
Information on the source of the communications:
Name and full address:
Mr. Boyuk Resuloglu,
Ayna, Sherifzade 1,
The Republic of
Telephone and fax numbers and e-mail
address (if possible):
Name, address, phone/fax numbers and
e-mail address (if applicable) of person or organization
submitting the allegation.
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
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