The Problem of Southern Azerbaijan

Say (Ref.): 539/ 2011
İlaygün (Date): 19 May 2011

The Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva

Please circulate this Briefing Note 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
• Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges;

CC Mr Dyke and Mrs. Harrison, Amnesty International, London
Also: Ban Ki Moon, secretary General of UN and Human Rights Watch and Human Rights Server



Some of Southern Azerbaijani prisoners of conscience

Dear sir/madam

Arbitrary Detention Rate in 2010 was one victim every 36 hours but CURRENTLY, now one victim every 24 hours!

This Note is provided to brief you on the 5th Anniversary of the May 2006 Mass Protests in Southern Azerbaijan against the racist policies of the Iranian authorities, whilst Southern Azerbaijanis are at the preparation process while and the Iranian authorities display all the signs for yet another arbitrary acts.

This Briefing Note brings to your kind attention important issues as the Iranian authorities pursue racist policies and regard Southern Azerbaijan as the backyard of their colonial empire. Our previous Communications have brought evidence to your attention the ongoing situation and their overview is as follows. The 30 million Azerbaijanis have been denied even the most basic right of education in mother language and the subsequent atrocities inflicted by the Iranian authorities have been endured by Southern Azerbaijani youth and activists without reciprocating the violence inflicted by the authority (see for example: Ref 445/2007 on 22 February 2007; Ref 447/ 2007 on 5 March 2007; Ref: 486/2008 on 24 February 2008). Our evidence submitted to you has also uncovered the incompetence of the Iranian authorities on exploiting the natural resources in Southern Azerbaijan, as well as on undermining national heritage and economy by their racist and assimilation policies. The Iranian authorities have been displaying open hostilities and this has been escalated to the level that even the natural environment in Southern Azerbaijan is under a deliberate and sustained attack (please see our communications of Ref: 538/2011, on 30 April 2011; and Ref: 526, on 15 May 2010). Even the sporting events in Southern Azerbaijan are not being spared of the onslaught of the Iranian racism and discrimination. Racism in Iran is reaching to new dimensions as illustrated by our Communication (Ref: 516/2009, on 3 June 2009).

In response to the racist policies of the Iranian authorities, the nation of Southern Azerbaijan has found no alternative but to reject all the racist policies imposed on them by the Iranian authorities. The first manifestation of a popular response emerged in Tebriz, the capital city of Southern Azerbaijan, with an immediate response in Urmu, the second largest city of Southern Azerbaijan, on 22 May 2006 and 23 May 2006, respectively. This was in response to a cartoon printed in Iran the official daily Newspaper, which was probably sponsored by the Iranian authorities in the first place. Within a week, democratic protests swept across Southern Azerbaijan (please refer to our communication Ref: 325/ 2006, on 26 May 2006; our detailed report: Ref. 382/2006 on 17 September 2006; and Amnesty International’s Urgent Action, please refer to UA 151/06, MDE 13/055/2006 on 26 May 2006: The protests sustained its momentum for more than a week and reached its peak on 26-27 May, during which democratic and peaceful demonstrations were orchestrated by Southern Azerbaijanis at a national scale. However, the Irainan authorities resorted to their brute forces from the very first manifestation of this movement by inflicting extrajudicial death on at least 15 individuals (in Urmu, Qoshachay, Sulduz, Tebriz and Khiyov); 200 individuals suffered injuries; at least 2000 individuals were arbitrarily rounded up and detained and fabricated criminal files were compiled against some 10,000 individuals.

Whilst the May 2006 Mass Protests encouraged Southern Azerbaijanis to be active in demanding their national interests, people were not deterred by the subsequent brutal repressions of the protests. Instead, this repression increased the momentum for popularising the ongoing protests, which include protests on the first day of the academic year annually by expressing every year, and expressing national aspirations through supporting the national football team of Southern Azerbaijan.

We are now on the eve of the 5th Anniversary of the May 2006 Mass Protests. Currently, we are now witnessing a massive mobilisation of democratic movements on one hand but the brutal forces of the Iranian authorities adamant to spearhead their iron-fist rules, on other hand. Let us remind you that the ruthless government paramilitary crack units have already been stationed in Southern Azerbaijan with their early preparation. This is already reflected by antidemocratic State forces already suppressing the individuals to silence and gag them by making threatening telephone calls, summoning activists for interrogation centres, arbitrarily arresting activists and detaining them without charging, or rescheduling the trials of the gagged individuals and sentencing them with ridiculous arbitrary sentences, as a show of might. Some of the arbitrary acts deployed by the Iranian authorities are reflected in Table 1, as annexed to the Briefing Note.

The strength of Southern Azerbaijani National Movement is that no one breaks the law, even though the Iraninan laws are based on racism but Southern Azerbaijanis exercise their democratic rights to peaceful protest, as conferred by the Universal Human Rights Declaration. We have claimed that the brutish response of the Iranian authorities to these democratic exercise of rights has been increasing and we confirm that our estimates shows that in 2010 one victim was detained every 36 hours but now it is one victim every 24 hours, on average. None of these victims have broken any law, all of them are being detained arbitrariy while deprived of all of their rights, and none of them have given in to torture to confess to false accusations dictated by the Iranian authorities.

We appeal proactively to you to campaign for the human and national rights in Southern Azerbaijan and rally your support to Southern Azerbaijani prisoners of conscience otherwise the Iranian authorities will be appeased as a consequence. In order to oblige the Iranian government to respect human rights of Southern Azerbaijanis, we would like to request you to organize and send unbiased fact-finding inspectors to Southern Azerbaijan. We believe that this could be an effective deterrent against racism in Iran. Without such a focused mission, the racism in Iran shall be kept stoking but dispatching your inspectors will be a great help that you may offer to combat the racism in Iran.

We thank you in advance for your most effective campaign.

Yours faithfully,

Boyuk Resuloglu
The Committee for the Defence of the Rights of World Azerbaijanis

Table  Some of the Arbitrary Acts by Iranian authorities against Southern Azerbaijani individuals


Activist Name



Seid Neimi

·         Arrested in 9 May 2011 in Tehran;

·         Transferred to Tebriz prison;

·         Renowned human rights defender; and

·         We are anticipating the paperation of a Communication for this human rights defender.


Ekber Azad

·         Arrested on 9 May while attending the Southern Azerbaijani Day of Students in Tehran

·         Released a few days afterwards

·         He is a Journalist, who was detained arbitrarily earlier as detailed in Ref: 429/ 2010 on 1 Sep 2010 but was released on bail for $250,000 surety.


Mehi Islami

·         Arrested on 9 May while attending the Southern Azerbaijani Day of Students in Tehran

·         Released a few days afterwards


Mrs. Sima Didar

·         Was imprisoned in April, as detailed in our Communication: Ref: 537/2011 on 26.04.2011

·         A journalist


Elirza Fershi

·         Detained since 13 May 2011

·         Was imprisoned arbitrarily before (See  Ref: 517/ 2009 on 3 June 2009)

·         Husband of mrs. Sima Didar

 6 and 7

Mehdi Direkhshan and his wife

Arrested and detained in Tebriz on 9 May 2011

Campaigned for Save lake Urmu


20 Students in Urmu

·         14 May 2001: Some 20 Students were cautioned in Urmu University for supporting the national Football team of Southern Azerbaijan, called “Riraxtur”


 Behmen Azad (Nesir zade)

He was sentenced arbitrarily for one year prison on 20 April in Maki (Maku)


Ferdin Muradpur

Although released on 22 April temporarily, but he is sentenced arbitrarily for six years prison.


Eyyub Shiri

Arrested on 4 May 2011 and still detained arbitrarily in Tebriz prison.


ebulfezl Visali

Imprisoned arbitrarily on 3 April 2011 for a six month prison term.


ekber Azad


These activists were tried in the Revolutionary Court in Tebriz on 7 May 2011.



Heyder Kerimi


Aydın Xacei


Neim ehmedi


Yunis Suleymanı


Hesen rehimi


Kubra Fereczade


Elirza Əbdullahi


Şəhram Radmehr


Behbud Qulizadə


Şukrullah Qəhrəmani


Mahmud Fəzli




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