No.: 486/2008

Date: 24 February  2008

 

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

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

 

In Arbitrary detention

Dear sir/madam,

GENERAL COMMUNICATION: IRANIAN VIOLATION OF THE MOTHER LANGUAGE OF THE NATION OF SOUTHERN AZERBAIJAN

Since our Communication Ref: 512/2008 on 23 December, we have only submitted one Communication (Ref: 513/2008 on 13 March 2009) but we admit that this is completely disproportionate with the ordeals inflicted on human rights of the nation of Southern Azerbaijan by the ruling Iranian authorities.  Due to the limitations of resources, our backlog consists of:

  1. Not providing communications on individual Southern Azerbaijani activists whose human rights have been violated by the Iranian authorities. A summary is provided in Table 1, just as an overview.
  2. Updates on our previous communications, as despite the release of some of the Southern Azerbaijani prisoners of conscience, their human rights are being violated whilst in freedom. For instance, there was insistence by the Iranian authorities ordering Mr. Abbas Leysanli to change the name of his business from Chenli Bel (Azerbaijani words meaning Misty Outskirts but has the connotation of Camelot).
  3. This year the campaign for presidential elections in Iran has created a curious situation, as the National Movement of Southern Azerbaijan is a force to be reckoned with but the Iranian authorities are still spearheading with their singular racist policy in favour of the Farsi-speaking nation. The added dimension in this round of electioneering campaigns are (i) that one of the candidates, Dr Ekber E’lemi, was a past Member of the Iranian Parliament representing Tebriz, who acknowledges himself to be an Iranian national but of ethnic Azerbaijani, and (ii) Dr E’lemi is renowned to have a high personal integrity, unusual for Iranian politicians and therefore at disadvantage for his nomination to be ratified; (iii) he was therefore enigmatic for the Iranian authorities, as Dr E’lemi’s personal integrity was a threat to arbitrary governance established by nebulous Iranian Hezbollah paramilitary forces; and (iv) Dr E’lemi criticised the Iranian system but swore his allegiance to Azerbaijan though his reform package was tantamount to overhauling the Farsi hegemony. In spite of this, a group of Azerbaijani activists pledged their support to Dr E’lemi but the Iranian authorities crafted an ambiguous outcome for the ratification of Dr E’lemi candidature violating his human rights. We are due to submit a Communication to this end.
  4. Iranian authorities have done it again by crafting an insult to the national integrity of Azerbaijan, reminiscent of the episode in May 2006! The culprit of this episode is Mr. Khatami, a former president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, who utters words of jokes, unworthy of a president, particularly a president who prides himself for his international engagement on the so called the dialogue of civilisations. We are also to submit a Communication on this skilful reaction of Southern Azerbaijan, who are furious but express their disgust in a very measured way.

We hope to have provided you a glimpse of ongoing events incited by racial hatred of the Iranian authorities spearheading their singular policies to promote their so called “Aryan” race. The Iranian authorities are in contempt of your mandates and we are rallying for your awareness of the ongoing event.  We thank you in advance for your care.

Yours sincerely,

Eli Tashkent

For and on behalf of

The Committee for the Defence of the Rights of World Azerbaijanis

Table 1  Collective Account of Violations of Human Rights of Iranian Authorities against Southern Azerbaijani Individuals (Sources)

A. Ordeals of Prisoners of Conscience

No.

Victim’s Name

City

Overview

1

Ibrahim Nuri (17)

Eher

Azerbaijani ethnic rights activist; sentenced for 10 month of suspended jail for his past activities.

2

Meherrem Kamrani

Eher / Urmu

Azerbaijani cultural activists arrested in March 2006; detained for 20 days by agents of Intelligence Services in Eher; charged with “propaganda against the regime” for distributing articles and also for participating in meetings deemed illegal; tried on April 11, 2009.

3

Saleh Molla Abbasi

Eher

Azerbaijani cultural activists arrested in March 2006; detained for 45 days by agents of Intelligence Services in Eher; charged with “propaganda against the regime” for distributing articles and also for participating in meetings deemed illegal; tried on April 11, 2009.

4

Ramin Sadiqi Esl

Erdebil

Azerbaijani ethnic rights activist; arrested on 5 Feb 09 and detained on 12 April 09 by Intelligence service; were tortured while indetention

5

Mehemmed Sadiqi

Erdebil

Azerbaijani ethnic rights activist; arrested on 6 April 09 but released on bail on 14 March 09

6

Vedud Esedi

Edebil / Resht

Trial finished on 28 Feb 09 with a sentence of one year charged with charged with “propaganda against regime” and “propaganda of ethnicity.”

7

Beytullah Berzger

Khiyov

Azerbaijani ethnic rights activist; charged with “propaganda against the regime” and “propaganda of ethnicity by distributing articles” for past activities; was sentenced to five months’ this year but suspended imprisonment

8

Eli Huseyni-Nejad,

Maki

Azerbaijani ethnic rights activist; arrested on 4 April 09; to serve an 8 month arbitrary sentence for his protests.

9

Mejid Makuyi

Maki

Azerbaijani ethnic rights activist; a student of Esfahan’s Malek Eshter University; charged with “establishing or membership in illegal organizations in order to organize activities against national security;” sentenced to one year of imprisonment in addition to two years of suspended imprisonment.

10

Hojjetulislam Ezimi Qedim

Qum

An Azerbaijani ethnic rights activist and clergyman; released from prison for his ethnic activities on 26 April 2009

11

Husein Rahimi

Resht

Trial finished on 28 Feb 09 with a sentence of one year charged with charged with “propaganda against regime” and “propaganda of ethnicity.”

12

Abdulla Abbasi  Javan

Sulduz / Tehran

Was released on 25 February 09, after 105 days of detention in Evin Prison; just one day after the death of his ailing mother. For more info see Our Communication: Ref: 511/2008 on 23 December 2008.

13

Hemid Valai

 

An Azerbaijani writer and human rights activist; Charged with “propaganda against the regime;” tried in the Tabriz Revolutionary Court; sentenced to three months of imprisonment and nine months of suspended imprisonment. See also our earlier Communication Ref: 499/2008 on 5 August 2008.

14

Iraj Heseni

Tebriz

Azerbaijani ethnic rights activist; charged with “violation of public order” and “participating in illegal demonstrations,” the outcome of his appeal was an arbitrary sentence of two years of imprisonment

15

Mehemmed Jerrahi

Tebriz

Azerbaijani Labour activist; sentenced in March 2009 for 4 month of suspended jail for his past activities.

16

Naghi Ehmedi Azer

Tebriz

Cultural activist and writer; arrested on 4 April 09 and detained by security forces

17

Qulam Nejefi

Tebriz

An Azerbaijani ethnic rights activist; charged with “propaganda against the regime;” tried in the Tabriz Revolutionary Court; sentenced to three months of imprisonment and nine months of suspended imprisonment

18

Vehid Shekhbaghli

Tebriz

Arrested on 24 December 2008 and was detained in Tabriz Prison for49 days; charged with “movement against national security” as well as “violation of public order” a graduate student in economics and a former member of the Arman Student Organization; released on bail ($50,000) after of detention.

19

Aydin khajeyi

 

 

Tebriz

Azerbaijani student activists; tried on January 18, 2009 in a closed court; but was not made public; charged with “establishing or membership in illegal organizations in order to organize activities against national security;” sentenced to one year of imprisonment in addition to two years of suspended imprisonment; see our Communication Ref: 498/2008 on 2 August 2008.

20

Ehsan Nejefi-Neseb

21

Emir Merdani

22

Feraz Zehtab

23

Sejjad Radmehr

B. Iranian Persecution of Azerbaijani Elevi Religious Minorities

1

Mehdi Qasimzade,

Suffe25red execution on 3 March 2009. See our Communication: Ref:513/2009 on 13 March 09

2

Yunis Aghayan,

He is at a death row. See our Communication: Ref:513/2009 on 13 March 2009

3

Abdulla Qasimzade,

See our Communication: Ref:513/2009 on 13 March 2009 for more background information. They are imprisoned arbitrarily and transferred illegally to a remote prison in Farsi-speaking Iranian city.

4

Bakhsheli Mehemmedi

5

Sehendeli Mehemmedi

       
 

C. The Onslaught of the Iranian Authorities against Sourthern Azerbaijani Sunni Minorities in Qizil Kheneye, Urmu, a provincial capital in Southern Azerbaijan

1

Allahverdi Aslani

Sunni villagers of Qizil Khanaya in Urmu, gathered to prevent the redirection of the village’s underground water supplies for industrial consumption, were charged with “violation of public order” and “revolting against government officials;” Iranian police forces opened fire on 14 January 14 09 against the unarmed demonstrators, attacked th

e farmers with tear gas, and hundreds of farmers were rounded up; more than 30 people were detained for more than 10 days; some of the detainees were wounded, the detainees were interrogated and tortured before being released; their trial was held in February 2009. The politically motivated arbitrary sentences varied up to 2 years of imprisonment; fine, lashing and exile.

 

 Qizil Kheneye is a village with population 2,000, located 30 kilometres north of the Urmu city. The people are mainly Sunni Muslims—Sunni Azerbaijanis—who are called “Sunni Turks” or “Kuresunni,” by other Azerbaijanis. They live mainly in Erdebil province as well as in Western Azerbaijan province. Sunni Azerbaijanis in Iran are subject to both ethnic and religious discriminations.

2

Behruz Mejidi

3

Berzad Nizami Efshar

4

Behraz Yaqubzade

5

Ekber Rustemi

6

Esger Qara Hajilu

7

Eyyub Ezizpur

8

Heyder Eli Elipur

9

Hebibulla Ehmedi

10

Hojjetulla Ehmedi

11

Huseyn Vahabzade

12

Hojjat Mukerrem

13

Mahad Nizami Efshar

14

Me’raj Elipur

15

Mehdi Ismaili

16

Mehemmed Eshrafi

17

Mehemmed Jeferi

18

Mehemmed Menafzade

19

Mehemmed Nizami Efshar

20

Mehemmed Semedzade

21

Mejid Quluzade

22

Murtaza Jeferi

23

Seid Jeferpur,

24

Suleyman Ibrahimi

25

Ziyad Jeferpur

D. “Name-cleansing” Campaign of the Iranian Authorities Against Turkic Names and other Suppressions

1

Even though the Interior Ministry declared that the order to change Turkish names on Azerbaijani shops to Persian no longer valid after Azerbaijani members of parliament objected, in some cities and towns of Azerbaijan, authorities force shop owners to do so anyway. In some cities, authorities close down shops with Turkish names.

2

Recently in Erdebil, authorities ordered Abbas Leysanli, a prominent Azerbaijani ethnic rights activist, to change his shop name “Chenli Bel”. He was issued the warrant on 19 March 2009 and was told that his shop will be shut down if he does not change the name.

3

In Sulduz (Naghadeh) another Azerbaijani city, the barber shop of Efshin Puyende has been shut down because of its name “Gozellik Salonu,” which is in Azerbaijani Turkic. The authorities also cancelled his work licence.

4

The music education Centre, “Azerbaijan” directed by Hesen Demirchi, was closed down. This is the third time that this centre has been shuttered by authorities.


 

Authorities Undermining Student’s Education on Grounds of Activities for National (Ethic) Rights

1

Qadir Kiyani

Was refused of admittance to postgraduate studies i March 2009 by the Iranian ministry of Science, Research, and Technology; when Kiyani questioned for the reason, the authority’s response was that he was refused on grounds of his activities for defence of Azerbaijani ethnic rights.

2

Emin Imami

 

These students were denied of postgraduate studies in the university of Tebriz in March 2009 on grounds of their activities for defence of Azerbaijani ethnic rights.

3

Mehdi Haj-Mehemmedi

4

Habib Babazade

5

 Nadir Mehd Qarabagh

6

Ms. Nahid Babazade

7

Semed  Pashai

8

Yashar Keremi

Repression against Journals

1

Yaghish

shut down by the cultural council of the Urmu University before its first release. According to Editor-in-chief Emir Qehrremani, the periodical was disallowed on grounds repeating the name of another disallowed periodical with similar objectives of tackling ethnic rights.

2

Achiq Soz

 

 

These student periodicals have all suffered similar fate of closure since 2008.

3

Anayurdu

4

Araz

5

Aydin Gelecek

6

Bulud

7

Gunesh

8

Isil Ay

9

Khelej

10

Kimlik

11

Nesim

12

Oyanish

13

Ozluk

14

Sayan

15

Settar Khan

16

Telenger

17

Ulus

18

Yagish

19

Yarpaq

20

Yashil

21

Yol

22

Yoldash

 

Azərbaijani Turkic

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