The Problem of Southern Azerbaijan


No.: 507/2008

Date: 25 August 2008

The Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva,

Please circulate this Update to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; 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

Mr. Jelil Qenilu

Dear sir/madam


Further to our Communication 1 (Ref: 457/2007; Date: 4 July 2007) and its Update 1 (Ref: 482/2008 on 24 January 2008), please find enclosed Update 2 to safeguard human rights of Mr. Jelil Qenilu, a Southern Azerbaijani freelance journalist, who was arrested by the Iranian authorities, was tortured and deprived of his liberty.

Mr. Qenilu was detained and tortured three times in 2007 for his activities in promoting the Azerbaijani cultural identity and the third time was on 27 June 2007 in relation to the first anniversary of the May 2006 Mass Protests and the annual Babek Assembly. The events since our Update 1 are as follows:

  • 27 February 2008: released on bail for a surety of 80 million Tumen (approximately $80,000);
  • 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 sentence 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 him.

The mandates entrusted on you are the only remaining instrument for spoiling the gagging order instigated by the Iranian authorities against Mr. Qenilu 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.

Yours faithfully,

Eli Tashkent

The Committee for the Defence of the Rights of World Azerbaijanis

Azərbaijani Turkic

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