The Problem of Southern Azerbaijan

No.: 501/ 2008

Date: 9 August  2008

The Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva

Please circulate this letter to the following:

·         Working Group on arbitrary detention (also for Fair Trials);

·         Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression

·         Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Intolerance

·         The Independent Expert on Minority Issues, and

·         Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges

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

Also:    Human Rights Watch and Human Rights Server

                                    

A scene from the sit-in protests on

Dear sir/madam, 

COMMUNICATION 1     THE CASE OF MR. SEJJAD RADMEHR

Please find enclosed Communication 1 for safeguarding human rights of Mr. Sejjad Radmehr, a Southern Azerbaijani student reading M.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering in Tebriz University who has been deprived arbitrarily of his liberty by Iranian authorities. The following information is provided:

Table 1  The Communication form for the Working Group on arbitrary detention, using confirmed and published information; and

Table 2  present the transcription of the campaign by Front Line for Southern Azerbaijani student, including Mr. Radmehr.

Mr. Radmehr was arrested on 17 July 2008 and still kept in incommunicado by Iranian security agents, who seemingly have threatened his family members to keep silent. This is not an empty claim but we hope to have reflected enough on this to be seen as mounting evidence towards gagging Southern Azerbaijani activists. 

We would like to stress that in compiling this Communication, we have not consulted with Mr. Radmehr, his family or his lawyer. This statement is necessary to manage the risk of reprisal by the Iranian authorities.

Mr. Radmehr is only one of Southern Azerbaijani students/academics who suffered an ongoing wave of repression. The reinstatement of his human rights is only possible through your campaign. Thank you in advance for your care.

Yours faithfully,

Mr. Eli Tashkent

The Committee for the Defence of the Rights of World Azerbaijanis

 

blankTable 1            The COMMUNICATION FOR CASE OF MR. VEDUD ESEDI

Human Rights

United Nations

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

OHCHR

 

Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

"No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile."
(Article 9, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
VII. Model questionnaire to be completed by persons alleging arbitrary arrest or detention

I. Identity of the person arrested or detained

1.     Family name:     

Radmehr

2.     First name:        

Sejjad

3.     Sex:         

Male 

4.     Birth date or age (at the time of detention):

26 years old

5.     Nationality/Nationalities:

Southern Azerbaijani national; a citizen of the Islamic Republic of Iran       

6.       (a) Identity document (if any):

not available

(b) Issued by:    

Being from the Southern Azerbaijani city of Tebriz, the General Registry Office in Tebriz would be responsible for issuing his birth certificate

(c) On (date):    

The data not available

(d) No.:    

The data not available

7.     Profession and/or activity (if believed to be relevant to the arrest/detention):

Student, reading mechanical engineering in Tebriz University

8.    Address of usual residence:        

He is from the Southern Azerbaijani city of Tebriz. No more specific information on his address is available.

II. Arrest

1.    Date of arrest:  

17 July 2008

2.    Place of arrest:  

The victim was arrested at the entrance of Tebriz University following his defence of his graduate thesis.

3.    Forces who carried out the arrest or are believed to have carried it out:

He was arrested by security agents of Ministry of Information in Tebriz

4.   Did they show a warrant or other decision by a public authority?

We have no specific information on the act of arrest.

5.    Authority who issued the warrant or decision:

Undoubtedly, the authority was the Ministry of Intelligence at least we assume so. The onus is on the authority to provide clear information.

6.    Relevant legislation applied (if known):

Normally the authority does not provide this data to cover their act of arbitrary arrests and this case is no exception.

III. Detention

1.    Date of detention:          

The victim is held in incommunicado detention and there is no specific information on the date of detention, presumably he was detained at the minute of arrest.

2.    Duration of detention (if not known, probable duration):

He is being held incommunicado and therefore the detention is ongoing

3.   Forces holding the detainee under custody:

During the detention, the victim would be held by the office of the Ministry of Information in Tebriz.

4.    Places of detention (indicate any transfer and present place of detention):

He is being held in incommunicado.

5.    Authorities that ordered the detention:

Our assumed response would be that the authority ordered the detention was the Ministry of Information.

6.    Reasons for the detention imputed by the authorities:

There is no official indictment and therefore we can only speculate.

It is believed that the arrest was in connection with victim’s conducting a peaceful sit-in of university students on 11 May 2008 in protest against his treatment by the university authorities, who had initially banned him from defending his thesis and in protest against arrests of human rights activists. This was widely reported including: http://haqqimiz1.blogfa.com/post-17.aspx

7.    Relevant legislation applied (if known):

As there are no imputed charges, relevant legislation underpinning the arrest, the custody and the detention are not known.  The onus is on the authority to issue such information and deserve the title of being called the authority.

IV.  Describe the circumstances of the arrest and/or the detention and indicate precise reasons why you consider the arrest or detention to be arbitrary

This case has the full hallmark of arbitrary detentions, including:

·         The agents arresting the victim did not inform the victim’s family;

·         Victim’s house was searched after the arrest

·         The victim’s sister, Ilahe Radmehr, a student of Urmu University was summoned to the disciplinary committee of Urmu University and was threatened with expulsion if she publicises her brother’s case.

·         He has been denied of the access to a lawyer.

·         Also, Front Line (see Table 2) has issued a statement supporting this detention is in incommunicado.

V.        Indicate internal steps, including domestic remedies, taken especially with the legal and administrative authorities, particularly for the purpose of establishing the detention and, as appropriate, their results or the reasons why such steps or remedies were ineffective or why they were not taken:

As victim’s sister was threatened with expulsion from the university, should they publicise the victim’s case, the details of their representation to exhaust the meagre channels available in Iran has not emerged and this is understandable.

Also, Southern Azerbaijani student have a great deal of campaigns for the reinstatement of Mr. Radmehr’s human rights and regain of his liberty.

 

VI.  Full name and address of the person(s) submitting the information (telephone and fax number, if possible) (d)

Mr. Eli Tashkent

On behalf of:

The Committee for the Defence of the Rights of World Azerbaijanis

 Address: Ayna, Sherifzade 1, Baki, Azerbaijan; Tel/Fax +47-99399225;

Email: email:info@dunazhak.net

Date: 8 August 2008                   Signature:
 
This questionnaire should be addressed to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, OHCHR-UNOG, 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland, fax No. (41-22) 917.90.06.

 

© The Office of the High Commissioner
for Human Rights
Geneva, Switzerland Send e-mail with comments and suggestions to:
webadmin.hchr@unog.ch

OHCHR-UNOG
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Telephone Number (41-22) 917-9000

 

Table 2  Urgent Action Campaign by Fronline for Southern Azerbaijani Activists, including Mr. Sejjad Radmehr: http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/1532

Iran: Arbitrary Detention and Ill-Treatment of human rights defenders Hemid Valai, Sejjad Radmehr and Vedud Esedi

Front Line is concerned following reports that human rights defenders Hemid Valai, Sejjad Radmehr and Vedud Esedi have been arbitrarily detained and subjected to ill-treatment and torture. Hemid Valai is a human rights lawyer. Hemid Valai, Sejjad Radmehr and Vedud Esedi are all activists working to promote the rights of ethnic Azerbaijanis in Iran.

Further Information

Posted 08/08/2008 Hemid Valai was reportedly detained on 15 July 2008, after being summoned to the interrogation unit of the Ministry of Information in Tabriz. While in custody, Hemid Valai has reportedly been subjected to ill-treatment and torture. Following repeated requests from his family, he was transferred to a prison hospital to receive treatment for injuries allegedly sustained during his detention and was permitted to receive family visits. Reports indicate that Hemid Valai's two front teeth are broken, as are several of his ribs and his right leg, and that his jaw has been damaged. He also reportedly lost consciousness several times while in detention as a result of the beatings inflicted by authorities.

Sejjad Radmehr was arrested by security agents on 17 July 2008 at the entrance of Tabriz University following his defence of his graduate thesis. It is believed that the arrest was in connection with Sejjad Radmehr's conducting a peaceful sit-in of university students on 11 May 2008 in protest against his treatment by the university authorities, who had initially banned him from defending his thesis and in protest against arrests of human rights activists. Sejjad Radmehr is reportedly in incommunicado detention and no charges against him have as yet been made public.

Vedud Esedi was arrested on 22 July 2008 at his home in Rasht. Four security agents reportedly entered Vedud Esedi's home, conducted a search of the residence and confiscated his computer, several CDs and other personal belongings. Vedud Esedi's current whereabouts have not been confirmed by authorities but reports have indicated that it is probable that he has been transferred to Section 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran. According to information received, no charges have been publicly brought against him.

Front Line believes that the arrest and detention of Hemid Valai, Sejjad Radmehr and Vedud Esedi is directly related to their activities in defence of human rights, particularly in defence of the rights of ethnic Azerbaijanis in Iran. In light of reports of the ill-treatment and torture of Hemid Valai, Front Line fears for the physical and psychological integrity of Hemid Valai, Sejjad Radmehr and Vedud Esedi, and believes that their continued detention may form part of a campaign to restrict the work of ethnic Azerbaijani human rights defenders in Iran.

Azərbaijani Turkic

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