The Problem of Southern Azerbaijan


No.: 505/2008

Date: 17 August 2008


The Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva,

Please circulate this Update to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which is also relevant to:

   Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers

   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 related intolerance

   The Independent Expert on Minority Issues


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

Also:       Human Rights Watch and Human Rights Server



Mrs. Leyla Seferi

Dear sir/madam


Further to our Communication (Ref: 463/2007; Date: 6 September 2007) and its Update 1 (Ref: 479/2008 on 20 January 2008), please find enclosed Update 2 to safeguard human rights of Mr. Behruz Seferi and Mrs. Leyla Seferi (her maiden name is Mrs. Heyderi). This Southern Azerbaijani couple are activists, who were arrested by the Iranian authorities, tortured and deprived of their liberty.

Mr. Seferi was detained on 15 June 2007, as part of the Iranian pre-emptive acts against the first anniversary of the May 2006 Mass Protests and Mrs. Seferi was arrested on 28 August 2008 to pressurise her husband to confess to the terms dictated by Iranian authorities. The following is a summary of the ordeal they have suffered since our last correspondence with you:

  • 27 February 2008: released on bail each for an incredible surety of 800 million Tumen (approximately $800,000);
  • 11 May 2008: tried in a closed court in Branch 115 of the Revolutionary Court, Tehran;
  • 10 June 2008: the passed sentence ( comprised an arbitrary determination of one year of punitive imprisonment for “publicity against the Islamic Republic.” We learned for the first time of the charge. Although the sentence was suspended for five years, it was effectively designed to gag them.

The mandates entrusted on you are the only remaining instrument for spoiling the gagging order instigated by the Iranian authorities against Mr. and Mrs. Seferi in particular and against Southern Azerbaijani activists in general. We therefore appeal to your kind attention and hope that you will make a strong representation to the Iranian authorities against their futile attempt on undermining national and human rights of the nation of Azerbaijan in Southern Azerbaijan.

Thank you in advance for your care.

Yours faithfully,

Eli Tashkent

The Committee for the Defence of the Rights of World Azerbaijanis 

Azərbaijani Turkic

print    forward    download

main page      up