Date: 11.11. 2007

No.: 468 /2007

The Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva

Please circulate this letter to:

·         Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges

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

·         The Independent Expert on Minority Issues

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

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

            European Union

            A selected number of Southern Azerbaijani Media

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Sir/madam,

Communication:   Present Situation in Southern Azerbaijan

Please find enclosed a new Communication on the current situation in Southern Azerbaijan where the ruling Iranian authorities adamantly violate the national and human rights of the nation of Southern Azerbaijan. This Communication parses out the data we have received since our last communication submitted to you on 13 September 2007 and collates them, as follows:

Table 1:    Outlines the Iranian arbitrary treatments of the Southern Azerbaijani prisoners of conscience;

Table 2:    Is a reminder of gagging mechanisms deployed by Iranian authorities against Southern Azerbaijani activities through hefty bails or prolonging trial periods;

Table 3:    Presents a glimpse of Iranian arbitrary treatments undermining the human right to Association of Southern Azerbaijani students; and

Table 4:    Outlines the scope of the onslaught of the Iranian authorities against the cultural activities of Southern Azerbaijanis in their native homeland. 

The above data together with various Communications that you received in the past are a testimony that Iranian authorities are implementing racist, self-centred and non democratic policies by pro-Farsi (Persian) rulers. These authorities have repeatedly ignored the numerous reports issued by The United Nations on matters of human rights concerning many nationalities constituting the general population of the country. In spite of these fundamentalist and ultra-conservative policies of the Iranian rulers, we still hope that the world community will be more sensitive to the individual and national rights of all people and nations making up the population constituting today’s Iran.

We hope you have witnessed the National Movement of Southern Azerbaijan as being vociferous by submitting a series of Communications to you over the years as well as to other international organisations. Now most international human rights organisations are sufficiently aware of the ruthless suppression of the democratic and human rights of Southern Azerbaijanis by Iranian authorities. Amnesty International has been exemplary in defending the 30 million nation of Southern Azerbaijan by issuing various statements, urgent actions and informing the world of the deprivation of our nation from the right to education in mother language.

Under the circumstances, it is extraordinary that during the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad the repression against the nation of Southern Azerbaijan has escalated several times over. We feel that this may have to do with insufficient pressures from organisations such as yours with legal mandates to interfere. Thus, the appeased Iranian authorities/agents dare to commit:

  • Medieval style physical and mental tortures;
  • Randomly arresting innocent people and their families, with the intention of intimidating ordinary citizens to silence their dissident elements;
  • Impose financial hardship on activists and moreover; and
  • Force our activists to false confessions while in detention or appear in controlled TV interviews.

The facts are before you which reveal the escalation of hostilitilies of the Iranian rulers against undefended nation of Southern Azerbaijan. We hope it is now amply evident that it is no longer a viable option to appease the Iranian authorities, who use every opportunity against the national and human rights of the nation of Southern Azerbaijan. We feel that it is now high time to challenge the Iranian government for their obligations to respect the Human Rights Declerations and the resolution on the right to Self-determination, for both of which Iran is an undersignatory.

The Iranian authorities aim to uproot the nation of Southern Azerbaijan but the mandates entrusted on you are intended  for the protection of our nation and similar cases. We appeal to you to campaign for the human and national rights of Southern Azerbaijanis in a measurable and transparent fashion.

Finally, during the meeting of our Committee members with you in your office in January 2007, we provided to you with the telephone number and personal details of a host of Southern Azerbaijani prisoners of conscience. We requested your country visit to Southern Azerbaijan and this seemed a realistic request to you at the time. We hope the evidence provided will add to your determination for seriously considering the momentous visit to Southern Azerbaijan. This gesture will be most effective  in protecting the lives of our activists.

With kind regards, 

Boyuk Resuloglu

For and on behalf of

The Committee for the Defence of the Rights of World Azerbaijanis

Tabular presentation of the data (Note the transcription of the names are based on their Azerbaijani pronunciations and not on Farsi)

 

Table 1.1    A List of Prisoners of Conscience and their arbitrary Treatments

No

Name

Conditions

1

Ilgar Merendli (Yaqub Saliki niya)

This 34 years old jornalist is a renowned human right defender and a co-founder of well-respected Kommitte for the Defence of Azerbaijani Prisoners of Conscience. He was arrested at 7 p.m. on 31 October 2007 by security agent, who had turned his house upside down and according to his wife, Mrs. Baharek Salikiniya these operations took two hours, after which the agents took away their personal belongings, books, CDs and PC. She stressed that there were no illigal material in their possession. This victim is a publisher and has taken part in many journals.

2

Dr Mehemmedeli Heyderi

This 40 years old journalist is a lecturer in the universities of Tebriz and Maragha, teaching politics. He was arrested on 27 October 2007 at 4.00 p.m. while leaving his office in Tehran by security agents, after which he was taken to his home for search. After turning his house upside down, they had confiscated his books, CDs and PC and detained him.

3

Mir Qasim Seyyidinzade

This 27 years old victim is journalist from the city of Julfa and was an activist of the national movement of Southern Azerbaijan in the past. He was arrested on 27 October 2007 and was taken to Wing 207 of Evin prison.

4

Mehemmed Nusreti

This 33 years old is kept in Evin prison. He is from the Southern Azerbaijani city of Khoy and an M.Sc. student of statistics in the University of Ankara. On his way to visit his sick visit in the deathbed from Turkey, he was arrested together with his wife, Mrs. Shehrzad Azermi, (who is a PhD student in Turkey) by security agents. Both were released initially after the death of the victim’s mother but Mehemmed Nusreti was re-arrested and still in detention with no access to a lawyer and unable to contact his family.

5

Abbas Leysanli

He has been in Erdebil Prison for over a year and been taken back to court on numerous occasions for various arbitrary accusations during this period. As a result, members of his family have developed health problems, who are currently under medical treatment in Tebriz.

6

Seid Metinpur

He is a journalist and human rights defender and was arrested four months ago. He has been under torture in Tehran’s Evin prison and is still resisting forced confessions and signing a false letter of repentance. He has only been able to contact his family twice by telephone.

7

Elirza Metinpur

Seid Metinpur’s brother has been arrested and sent to Zenjan Prison where he is currently under intense pressure.

8

Ilyaz Yekanli

He has been in Urmu Prison for almost one year. He is suffering from systemic health problems but doctor’s visit and other medical treatment have been denied from him.

9

Behruz Seferi

He was arrested two months ago. His whereabouts is not known but according to some rumours, he is being kept in Zenjan Prison. Until today, he is yet to be indicted.

10

Mrs Leyla Heyderi

Behruz Seferi’s wife, who was arrested at their home within a few days of her husband’s arrest. She is currently is detained in Zenjan Prison.

11

Elman (Mehdi) Nuri

He is 21 years old student and under extensive pressure. Although he had only one single examination left before his graduation from the university, his right to education, among his other human rights, has been denied to him.

12

Jelil Qenilu

He was arrested four months earlier and sent to Zenjan Prison. Up to present day he has not been formally charged. He was previously severely tortured in the Evin Prison.

13

Saleh Kamrani

A prominent human rights lawyer, who was arrested two months ago in Kerej and was sent to Evin Prison. He was arbitrarily arrested without being charged. His only contact with his family has been a two minute telephone conversation since his arrest.

14

Abdullah Abbasi-Javan

An engineer and a lecturer in Tehran University, he was arrested approximately two months ago in Tehran and was sent to Evin Prison. He has not been able to make any contact with his family.

15

Emir Abbas Bennai-Kazimi

After receiving a two year jail sentence, he is currently imprisoned in Tebriz Prison.

16

Eli Shadi

After receiving a six months sentence, he is currently imprisoned in Tebriz Prison.

17

Esger Ekberzade

He is currently under detention in Erdebil Prison.

18

Vedud Seadeti

He was arrested at work and his shop was shut down immediately. He is currently in detention in Erdebil Prison accused of being involved in nationalistic activities and so far he has not been formally charged.

19

Javad Hesenpur

He was arrested in Eher during last year’s demonstrations and is currently in detention in Tebriz Prison.

20

Ibrahim Muini

He received a prison sentence and is currently serving in Urmu Prison.

21

Riza Pashai

He is a student and currently in detention in Urmu Prison.

22

Ms Mehrnaz Mehemmedi

She is a student in Urmu and after receiving six months jail sentence, she recently surrendered herself to the authorities.

23

Irej Naji

He is currently in detention in Khoy Prison accused of spying.

24

Huseyn Ferihude

He is currently in detention in Khoy Prison accused of spying.

25

Hadi Hemidi-Shefeq

He is a student and currently in detention in Urmu Prison.

26

Mustafa Meydanneverd

He suffers a 4 month arbitrary imprisonment term and is currently serving it in Urmu prison. He was tortured for 12 days in Yeddi Pille prison.

27

Mohsun Husenzade

His arbitrary sentence was just confirmed by the Appeal Court in Urmu to 6 months of punitive imprisonment for participating in protests in the Southern Azerbaijani city of Maki (Maku) on the occasion of Mother Language protests in September 2006. His human rights are undermined by other cases compiled against him.

28

Mehemmed Nesiri

His arbitrary sentence was just confirmed by the Appeal Court in Urmu to 6 months of punitive imprisonment for participating in protests in the Southern Azerbaijani city of Maki on the occasion of Mother Language protests in September 2006. He is constantly under threat by Iranian authorities accused of Pan-Turkism and similar items that are not legally-binding.

29

Mrs. Mərziyə Purnəqi

She is 46 years old and was arrested in the afternoon on 4 November 2007 when security agents raided her house. Her personal belongings, CDs, PC and books were removed by the agent, at which time they left her house in ruins. She was active some twenty years ago and the agents arrested her without any indictment. Since then, her family’s efforts are in vain to establish her whereabouts.

30

Haj Eli Mehemmedi

A Southern Azerbaijani activist, from the village Yadigarli of Sulduz, was arrested for celebrating the International Mother Language Day. His sentence included 30 flugs, a fine of €2000 and 4 months of imprisonment. The hineous act of flugging has already been inflicted on this victim and he has served the arbitrary sentence but he was imprisoned again for being unable to pay the fine.

31

Ramin Behramnejad

He is from Southern Azerbaijani region of Mughan and took part in the May 2006 Mass Protests in Tebriz. He was arbitrarily condemned to 80 flugging by the revolutionary court in Tebriz.

32

Siyamək Tevessuli

He is from Southern Azerbaijani region of Mughan and took part in the May 2006 Mass Protests in Tebriz. He was arbitrarily condemned to 80 flugging by the revolutionary court in Tebriz.

33

Hesen Balayi

He is from Southern Azerbaijani region of Mughan and took part in the May 2006 Mass Protests in Tebriz. He was arbitrarily condemned to 80 flugging by the revolutionary court in Tebriz.

34

(Hamid ?) Khakpur

He is from Southern Azerbaijani region of Mughan and took part in the May 2006 Mass Protests in Tebriz. He was arbitrarily condemned to 80 flugging by the revolutionary court in Tebriz.

35

Mensur Jiddi

He took part in the demonstartion supporting the education in Azerbaijani Turkic in September 2007 but the General Court Branch 105 in Erdebil has condemned this victim for 4 months of punitive imprisonment.

36

  

Emir Husen Mvvehhidi

Thisjournalist is from the Southern Azerbaijani city of Khoy. He has been passed with two sentences: (1) 5 months of imprisonment for allegation of being a member of an illegal group to disturb peace; and (2) 5 months of imprisonment for undermining the national security.

 

Table 2        Southern Azerbaijani Activists Suffering from Trial Indeterminacy As a Gagging Mechanism

1

Siamek Mirzai

He is a student and was arrested in Mugan on 8th October2007.  He was ruthlessly tortured, which made him incapable of walking in the prime of his life. He is instructed to attend the court.

2

Hebib Mehri

He was detained in Tebriz for taking part in protesting against education in Farsi on the commencement of academic year in September 2007 but was released on bail.

3

Mesud Sultani

He was arrested, accused of nationalistic activities and is currently in detention in Erdebil Prison.

4

Gagging Activists

·   We are aware of more than 200 cases and have reported their names to you recently of individuals who are under the threat of being sommoned to court for trials but with no specific information. These trials are designed to gag the individuals concerned.

·   A recent example to the above is the individuals who were arrested in Qoshachay on the occassion of the Anniversary of the 22 May 2006 Mass Protests but were released after hefty bails.

·   Seven of these individuals were sommoned to court in Soyuqbulaq (Mahabad), as detailed below:

5

Behbud Qulizade

Suffered a hefty bail and summoned to court in Soyuqbulaq

6

Jalal Kuderilu

Suffered a hefty bail and summoned to court in Soyuqbulaq

7

Mohsun Feramerzi

Suffered a hefty bail and summoned to court in Soyuqbulaq

8

Shahin Heseni

Suffered a hefty bail and summoned to court in Soyuqbulaq

9

Eli Sultani

Suffered a hefty bail and summoned to court in Soyuqbulaq

10

Emir Aghazade

Suffered a hefty bail and summoned to court in Soyuqbulaq

11

Behkam Mehemmedi

Suffered a hefty bail and summoned to court in Soyuqbulaq

12

Dariyush Endelibiyan

Suffered a hefty bail and summoned to court in Soyuqbulaq

13

Mustafa Dovletkhah

Suffered a hefty bail and summoned to court in Soyuqbulaq

14

Murtuza Lek

Suffered a hefty bail and summoned to court in Soyuqbulaq

15

Eynullah Ahengeri

Suffered a hefty bail and summoned to court in Soyuqbulaq

16

Emir Seqefi (Theqefi)

Suffered a hefty bail and summoned to court in Soyuqbulaq

17

Veli-ullah Zohrabi

Suffered a hefty bail and summoned to court in Soyuqbulaq

18

Yusuf Shukrullahi

Suffered a hefty bail and summoned to court in Soyuqbulaq

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 3   Repressive Acts of Iranian Authorities in Southern Azerbaijani academic Establishments   

1

At all Azerbaijan’s academic centres, particularly in Tebriz, Urmu, Erdebil and Zenjan, great majority of students who are conscious of and interested in their national identity have been arrested with falsified dossiers. Many of these students have been imprisoned, expelled from their universities or prevented from participating in their examinations.

2

All cultural and social students unions in South Azerbaijani universities have been closed.

3

In these academic centres, all students social, scientific and other publications have been banned.

4

All kinds of students gatherings such as cultural and scientific seminars and musical and Musical assemblies have been banned.

5

In Germi, a city in Southern Azerbaijan, the studnet publication Addim was shut down by authorities without specifying any reason.

 

Note: We regret that we have not fully submitted Communications to defend their cases, purely for the reason of a lack of resources.

 

 

 

 

Note that our information sources are directly from Southern Azerbaijan combined with the information published by ASMEK (http://asmek-yeni.blogspot.com/), Haqqimiz (http://haqqimiz.blogfa.com/), Urmu News (http://urmunews1.blogfa.com/), Dustaq (http://dustaq.blogsky.com/) and Savalan Sesi (http://savalansesi.blogfa.com/).  

 

Table 4   Examples of Repressive Acts of Iranian Authorities against Cultural Institutions in Southern Azerbaijan

 

1

The renowned South Azerbaijani musician, Hesen Azerbaijan’s music school was shut down (see Our Communication on 13 September 2007. He personally had financed and established it over 30 years ago but closed and sealed by the authorities. One should bear in mind that, Mr Azerbaijan was arrested and imprisoned for six months because of participating in 22 May 2006 demonstrations. However, he was later found innocent of all charges and released from the prison. Nevertheless, after a short while, quite illegally and without producing any court order his school was closed again.

2

Southern Azerbaijan`s most famous journal, Dilmaj was closed down on 25th September without any hearing or court order. This journal started publications four years ago under the directorship of the well known South Azerbaijani engineer, Elirza Serrafi in Tebriz. After distribution of some issues, and following 22 May 2006 Protests, Mr Serrafi was put under extensive threats and pressure and forced to move to Tehran. However, despite all the difficulties, he managed to proceed with publication of the journal until it was arbitrarily banned.

3

The well known Bilim Yolu Society which was active for many years under the leadership of Eng. Hamid Shafei was closed on 9th October. This society’s activities were confined to Azerbaijani language literature music and other social activities. Preparation and distribution of written materials, CDs and video cassettes were also a part of its activities.

4

Following a verbal instruction over the telephone on 20th July, Urmu Sesi Journal (published in Urmu), was closed down. As no reason was given for the closure, Mr Mehemmed-Riza  Khadimi-Shems, the Editor, complained and requested for a proper enquiry to be carried out. However, until now, no reply has been issued and the journal is still closed.

 

5

According to the order issued by the Governor of Tebriz, using Azer baijani Turkic language in South Azerbaijan has been banned. In accordance with this order, Azerbaijani language has been banned at all offices, private companies, supermarkets, and shops. All signs, advertisements, in shops and at all other visible places have also been banned. In response to this order, Dr Ekber E’lemi (Akbar Aalami) the Member of Parliament for Tebriz, demanded that the Iranian Minister of Internal Affairs should attend and answer the relevant questions in that subject. However, It must be mentioned that, the above mentioned minister has failed to apologise the nation of Azerbaijan for such a daring act and illegal move against our nation.

 6

Settar Khan poetry night organised by Southern Azerbaijani student affiliated to the Settar Khan Cultural Centre in Tehran was stopped by the authorities on 8 November 2007. This centre held poetry nights fortnightly.

 

 

 

Azərbaijani Turkic

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