No.: 457/ 2007

Date: 4 July 2007

The Problem of Southern Azerbaijan

The Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva

                Please circulate this letter to:

·         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 The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (also for Fair Trials)

·         Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers

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

 

 Mr. Sina Tariq

a recent victim of Iranian extra-judicial execution

Dear sir/madam,

COMMUNICATIONS: OVER 200 SOUTHERN AZERBAIJANIS DETAINED BY IRANIAN AUTHORITIES ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE MAY 2006 PROTESTS

Please find enclosed a Collective Communication on more than 200 Southern Azerbaijanis, whose national and human rights have been violated by Iranian authorities on the occasion of the Anniversary of the May 2006 Mass Protests. The compiled Communication data on each individual is presented in Table 1. The ongoing wave of repression should be distinguished from those in the past even though they are linked. By way of background:

·         We have informed you on the May 2006 Mass Protests through a series of communications and reports. This event transformed the national movement of Southern Azerbaijan into a nation-wide struggle against Iranian authorities currently ruling in Southern Azerbaijan. Our submissions documented some evidence that thousands of innocent Southern Azerbaijanis suffered detentions, more than 100 suffered arbitrary sentences and some 20 individuals perished through extra-judicial executions.

·         The most notable examples are that i. since the extra-judicial execution of Mr. Jelil Abidini, his parents have appealed to international justice organisations for help against Iranian authorities exerting undue pressures to silence them – see Table 2; ii. the cases of Mr. Abbas Leysanli in Erdebil prison and Mr. Elyaz Yekanli in Urmu prison have exemplified the resistance of the nation of Southern Azerbaijan against Iranian racism.

·         The May 2006 Mass Protests set the precedence for a rhythmic marking of national events by our nation and the Iranian authorities resorting to violence and suppression.

·         We wrote proactively to you regarding the nation-wide preparation for marking the Anniversary in 22 May 2007 (Our letter: on 12 May 07; Ref: 453).

·         We also wrote to you at the aftermath of the 22 May 2007 Anniversary repressions (Our letter: Ref: 455, on 3 June 2007), appealing for your interventions towards safeguarding the human rights of Southern Azerbaijanis.

In order to help you with a clear understanding of the situation and to reflect on the determination of the nation of Southern Azerbaijan, we would like to remind you that our 30 million nation is deprived of the very basic right of education in mother language; our cities are rapidly deteriorating; the economic basis of Southern Azerbaijan is forced to decline; many rural communities still lack the basic amenities such as water supply, electricity and tarmac roads. . Also mass migrations are taking place in search of work to outside Southern Azerbaijan.  Our nation makes over half of the population in Iran but its very existence is now undermined.

Our nation has now broken its silence and risen against the ongoing Iranian racist policies, showing a commendable maturity by strictly adhering to the democratic struggle with the goal of securing the right to self determination for the nation of Southern Azerbaijan. However, Iranian authorities allure themselves with a supposed racial supremacy and ruthlessly repress the democratic movement of Southern Azerbaijan. We keep making the point that without exercising your mandates, Iranian authorities will feel appeased. This collective Communication is once again another testimony for Iranian ruthlessness against Southern Azerbaijan; for mobilising your urgent attention for the cause of Southern Azerbaijan; and for your perusal that the problem of Southern Azerbaijan is not an internal problem of Iran.

We would like to draw your attention to the Collective Communication Data compiled in Table 1. We intended to submit individual Communications for each victim but clearly this is beyond ours resources and most probably beyond your resources as well. Whilst this collective Communication is a solution to our relatively limited resources, we hope you will act on all the individuals. We would like to highlight some of the information in the table for your attention:

  • The data presented in Table 1 is by no means exhaustive. We believe there are more than 1000 individuals who were detained but with no official communiqué on their arrest, detention or release. Any meagre information is gathered by our activists and human right defenders at a great risk to their safety and they only release information if reliable. So our information is more than what is actually reflected in Table 1 but those presented here are reliable.
  • Amnesty International has also issued a number of statements e.g. MDE 13/067/2007 on 7 June 2007; 13/068/2007 on 7 June 2007; and 13/070/2007 on 7 June 2007. We would like to draw your attention to the ordeal suffered by the distinguished human right defender and journalist Mr. Seid Metinpur in the notorious Evin prison, as well to that of Mr. Jelil Qenilu in Evin prison, Ekber Pashai kept in a solitary confinement in Urmu, and Elman (Mehdi) Babai in Sulduz prison; all of whom are believed to suffer torture.
  • Mr. Chengiz Bekhtaver and his brother Jahanbekhsh Bekhtaver, veterans of the national movement of Southern Azerbaijan, have been arbitrarily deprived of their liberty and detained until the current tide of protests reaches an ebb. Their families are also under undue repression. Table 3 presents you with the letter by Mr. Chengiz Bekhtaver’s wife to her Member of Parliament, the right honourable Dr Ekber E’lemi.
  • Among the detainees, you will find the name of Mehmmed Riza Evezpur, a 16 years old teenager who is at the brunt edge of Iranian authorities. We have already written to you about him e.g. (Our letters: Ref. 393/2006 on 2 October 2006, and Ref 402 on 27 October 2006) and Amnesty International has campaigned for his human rights, e.g. (MDE 13/118/2006 on 11 October 2006 and MDE 13/047/2006 on 5 May 2006).
  • Iranian authorities also deploy a variety of deterrents and Table 4 provides you one example of intimidation campaign deployed in Khoy by the notorious Ministry of Information machinery by dispatching some 300 letters summoning Southern Azerbaijani activists to interrogation.
  • You may notice from Table 1 that 90% of the victims are awaiting an arbitrary court trial. It is true that Iranian authorities are deterred relatively about the pressure exerted by the international human right organisations, but they deploy closed court trials and by the looming of possible trials to gag our activists. Gagging of freedom loving individuals is a severe punishment and our activists are at the brunt edge of this crafty punishment.

The facts are laid before and we believe your organisation is the only one with a mandate to represent the victims named in Table 1. We request that you organise a country visit to Southern Azerbaijan and are confident that as soon as your team arrive in Tebriz, a huge number of victims will refer to you to provide you details of their ordeals suffered over the years in the hands of Iranian authorities.

Considering the persistence of the onslaught of Iranian authorities against the nation of Southern Azerbaijan, our request for a country visit of Southern Azerbaijan is undoubtedly a basic right that we feel to be entitled to put before you. We would like to 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

Table1(Excel File)

Table 2.1  Translated Information on the Ordeal experience by the parents of an extra-judicially executed victim

 

Request of late Jelil Abidi`s relatives from the international organisations

Relatives of Late Jelil Abidi have appealed to the international organisations and the Azerbaijani activists to assist them in getting justice since Mr. Abidi suffered extra-judicial execution by agents of the Ministry of Information at Mishkin Shahar on 26 May 2006.

Indescribable psychological pressures are being exerted by Erdebil Judiciary and Security Offices on relatives of this innocent victim, particularly in relation to forging consent for the murderer of Mr. Abidi. The relatives have been warned of grave consequences if they fail to oblige for issuing such consent. These relative undergoing an excruciatingly difficult experience, have appealed international organisations and Azerbaijani activists for help towards securing justice for the late Mr. Abii

In the contents of the above mentioned appeal, it has been clarified that, in the last hearing of an specified court trial, as well as visits made by local security agents of Mishgin Sheher and the Erdebil Judiciary authorities, the relatives have been demanded to give their consent irrespective of any reservations and drop their judicial proceedings.

Obviously, Late Jail’s family, in particular his traumatised mother, have not given in to all those threats and as a result, close family members have been subjected to untold maltreatments and pressures.

Full contents of the appeal will be made available for the benefit of all those who are seeking justice.    

Table 2.2         Source text

بیانیه دادخواهی خانواده شهید جلیل عابدی از مجامع بین المللی

خانواده شهید جلیل عابدی که در 5 خرداد ماه 1385 در مشکین شهر به دست ماموران اطلاعات و به ضرب گلوله از ناحیهپشت سر شهید شده بود . طی اعلامیه از مجامع وفعالین حقوق آذربایجانیان جهت احقاق حقوق از دست رفته خود در خواست یاری وکمک نمود. در پی تشدید فشارهای روانی اطلاعات و سازمانهای قضایی استان اردبیل نسبت به خانواده این شهید مظلوم ، درخصوص صدور رضایتنامه اجباری برای قاتل نام برده  و تهدیدهای بیشمار نسبت به خانواده واطرافیان در خصوص  عواقب عدم رضایت که به گفته آنان متوجه کلیه اعضا و خانواده شهید خواهد بود .بستگان این شهید مظلوم ضمن اطلاعیه از از کلیه فعالین واگاهان عرصه مبارزات حق طلبانه آذربایجان درخواست کمک ویاری کردند.

 در این بیانیه اعلام شده است . که در اخرین جلسه دادگاه نامبرده ، ونیز طی ملاقات هایی از طرف اداره اطلاعات مشکین شهر و دادگستری استان اردبیل با خانواده از آنان خواسته اند تا به هر قیمتی شده با درخواست رضایت دادگاه موافقت نموده و از ادامه روند دادخواهی و از درخواست قصاص قاتل نامبرده چشم پوشی نمایند که طبعا با مخالفت اعضای خانواده وبخصوص مادر داغعدیده وی همراه بوده است که متعاقبا کلیه اعضای خانواده و نیز کلیه بستگانی که با خانواده در ارتباط هستند تهدید به اعمال زور وفشار های مختلف اجتماعی و… شده اند . متن کامل بیانیه بزودی در اختیار عموم دادخواهان قرار خواهد گرفت.

Table 3.1  The Appeal of Mrs. Bekhtaver’s Family to their MP

In the name of God

Date: 13 June 2007

The Honourable, Dr. Ekber E’lemi (Akbar Aalami), Member of the Islamic Iramian `Majlis` (Assembly) for the city of Tebriz and the suburbs.

Dear Dr. Aalami,

I would like to express my deepest gratitude for writing to Ayatollah Shahrudi, Chief of the Ministry of Justice in relation to the release of the detainees of Azerbaijani provinces, which took place on 22 May 2007 of the current year.

However, I would like to bring to your attention that in spite of the written Order of Release (based on providing financial security) issued by Mr. Ba-Hush, the official of Court 19 of City of Tebriz, none of the detainees including my husband, Chingiz Bekhtaver, have been released.

 

Following the written order of Mr. Ba-Hush, many family members of the detainees including myself approached Mr. Khaneshi, the Assistant Public Prosecutor of the province offering the required financial securities who in response, confronted us with insults and abusive behaviour and as a result my husband and all others are still in detention.

I have to point out that even before May the 22nd, the security agents, in the most ruthless and violent manner, have been arresting many women, men, students and any one who has demanded the application of the law of the country and thus causing immense public resentment towards the central government of Iran.

With kind regards                                                      

Signature of Leyla Bekhtaver

The authenticity of above mentioned securities is hereby approved.

Signed by Mr Manuchehr Ezizi

Table 4.1: Summoning Order Issued by Agents of the Ministry of Information in Iran

1155/14/514/55/16

20 May 2007

(Order for attendance)

 Headquarters of Security Office

Mr. Ibrahim Jeferzade Bilvari. Fathers name: Quli

Residence: Bilvar Village, Khoy ( South Azerbaijan)

In order to provide some information and explanations you are hereby instructed to attend the Information Department located at First Floor, Police Station 11, Kooche Shahid Mohammad-Nejad, Khiyabane Emam On 21 May 2007 at 09.00.

Clearly, should you fail to attend the above mentioned meeting, you will be dealt with in accordance with the relevant rules and regulations.

Signature of Colonel Khoshdel

Chief of the Headquarters of Security Office of Khoy

 

Azərbaijani Turkic

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