Date: 11 August 2008
UPDATE 1: ARBITRARY SENTENCE AGAINST MR. ILQAR MERENDLI
Further to our Communication (Ref: 471/2007; Date: 9 December 2007), please find enclosed Update 1 to safeguard human rights of Mr. Ilqar Merendli (his official name is Yaqub Saliki-niya), a prominent Southern Azerbaijani human rights defender, who was persecuted earlier by the Iranian authorities.
Mr. Merendli was detained on 31 October 2007 but without known charges, although he is a well-known Southern Azerbaijani human rights defender and a prolific writer. He was released on 19 December 2007 on bail for a surety of 80 million Tumen (approximately $80,000). He was tried in a closed court on 11 May 2008 in Branch 115 of the Revolutionary Court, Tehran, and the sentence was passed on 10 June 2008 (http://haqqimiz1.blogfa.com/post-22.aspx, please see also Table 1) comprising an arbitrary punitive sentence of one year for the charge of “publicity against the Islamic Republic.” The sentence was suspended for five years, effectively gagging him for an unintelligible charge.
We would like to stress that the compilation and submission of this Update is due to our initiative and we have not consulted with Mr. Merendli, his family members or anyone representing their interests. We have to state this to manage reprisal risks against the victims by the Iranian authorities.
Once again we appeal to your kind attention to this case, requesting your campaign against the gagging order of Iranian authorities against Southern Azerbaijani activists and Mr. Mərəndli. We hope you will make a strong representation to the Iranian authorities against their futile attempt to undermine national and human rights of the nation of Azerbaijan in Southern Azerbaijan. Thank you in advance for your care.
Committee for the Defence of the Rights of World Azerbaijanis