The Problem of Southern Azerbaijan

No.: 518/2009

Date: 4 June 2009

Please circulate this letter to the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression. Also this Communication is relevant to the following Special Raporteurs:

·         Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges;

·         Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance.

Üzü     Dyke bəy, Xanım Harrison, Amnesty International, London

Also:   Human Rights Watch and Human Rights Server

Dr Ekber Eəlemi

Dear sir/madam

COMMUNICATION 1: AMBIGUOUS APPROACH OF IRANIAN AUTHORITIES TO Dr. E’LEMI’S CANDITATURE TO IRANIAN PRESENTIAL ELECTIONS 

Further to our General Communication 515/2009 on 31 May 2009, please find enclosed Communication 1 for providing you with appropriate information that that human rights of the right honourable Dr Ekber E`lemi, a member of the Iranian parliament representing Tebriz, Usgu and Tufarqan (Azersheher) are being violated by the Iranian authorities. The grounds for this are explained in this communication.

Dr. E’lemi, a member of the Iranian parliament representing Tebriz, Usgu and Tofarqan (Azersheher), announced his candidature for the 10th presidential election of Iran. The launching statement on 14 April 2009 for his candidature, he declared that “Azerbaijan is my platform for election” and outlined his program aiming to democratise Iran and to secure legal rights of Azerbaijan (he does not use the expression of Southern Azerbaijan but in his parlour Azerbaijan does not include the Republic of Azerbaijan). This platform distinguished him from the other candidates. In spite of a wide range of problems imposed on him by Iranian authorities, he overcame all the obstacles and mobilised his campaign machinery all over Southern Azerbaijan.

An overview of his activities may be obtained directly from his own website or a group set up for his support (www.shura-secki.blogfa.com; www.aztahlil.blogfa.com and www.akbaralami.com).

In 9 May 2009 he was formally registered his candidature but despite his full compliance with the Iranian legal system, the outcome of ratification of the recommendation of four names, as announced on 20 May 2009 by the “Guardian Council of Iran.” This did not include his name. However, they specifically neither announced the approval of Dr. E’lemis candidature nor rejected it. In this way his status for the candidature has effectively been indeterminate.  This outcome is deemed arbitrary for a candidate of his stature serving two terms as the Member of Parliament representing Azerbaijan and at the same time had contributions in institutions sensitive for the security of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Not impressed with this outcome, Dr E’lemi lodged his complaint to the Election Committee under the Interior Ministry of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The essence of his complaint is evident in the following statement (http://www.akbaralami.com/content/view/233/80/):

A passage from Dr. E’lemi complaint: … “In accordance with the single-article law which came to force on 13 November 1999, a candidate may lodge complaint if his suitability (competence) is not approved and the complaint shall be evaluated by an arbiter and in accordance with this:

All the arbiters evaluating the complaint by a candidate failing to be approved for taking part in whatever election shall undertake (the only exception is in the process of selecting the member for Supreme Leadership, in which case the basis will on Article 108 of the Constitution) this as a duty and will evaluate the fitness (competence) of the candidate; the evaluation shall only be based on the appropriate clause of the law; only valid documents shall be used in the process and well-founded reasons shall be used; the process shall be carried out by appropriate executives and auditors. When the fitness has not been approved, the ground for this shall be written to the candidate as follows (the translation of the procedure is not necessary, as they have not been followed by the Iranian authorities, anyway):

Our NGO strives to defend human rights of the 30 million Southern Azerbaijanis and therefore we are keen to defend human rights of Dr. E’lemi. For this purpose, we are informing you of Dr. E’lemis complaint but we have not contacted him or his lawyer, as we would act for anyone in this manner whose human rights are violated by the Iranian authorities.

The special focus of this Communication is on those Southern Azerbaijani activists who pledged their support to Dr. E’lemi and in particular we would like to introduce the Coordination Council, which was formed for this purpose. We are concerned that in time the Iranian authorities will seek reprisal against these individuals, as the past experience shows that the Iranian authorities resort to some sort of revenge in the long term against Southern Azerbaijani activists. Their names are flagged in Table 1 and we hope that we will not be defending their human rights in the future but cannot be sure.

Yours faithfully,

Eli Tashkent

The Committee for the Defence of the Rights of World Azerbaijanis

Table 1     Initial Membership of the Coordination Council Campaigning for Dr E’lemi

Note: This is just the initial list and many more joined the Council later

No

Name

Role

Regions / Provinces

1

Aydin Mollazade

Responsible for liaison with youth

Hemedan

2

Feramerz Rizapur

Adviser on Arts and Liaison with artists

Overall

3

Hemid Shafei

head of campaign in West Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan – West

4

Hamid Iman

Responsible for Media

Northwest regions

5

Hemid Elkhani

Advisor on youth and a member of the Coordination Council

Northwest regions

6

Humayun Selimi

Liaison and adviser on cultural and arts

Gilan

7

Husheng Jeferi

Liaison on Cultural and Art

Zengan

8

Dr Isfendyar Qarabaghi

Advising on Arts and the head of campaign in East Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan – East

9

Ismail Hajizade

Cultural affair

Azerbaijan – west

10

Menuchehr Jeferi

Liaison for youth

Northwest regions

11

Nevid Mehemmedi

Responsible for liaison with youth

Azerbaijan – West

12

Qudret-u-lla Yusifi

Cooridation Council for all provinces

Overall

13

Seid Eshrefi

Responsible for mobilisation of Youth

Erdebil

Azərbaijani Turkic

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