The systematic violations of Azerbaijanis human rights continued throughout May 2010. Azerbaijani activists were subjected to arbitrary detentions and were deprived of fundamental rights. Psychological pressure on student activists and organizations and the Ahl-i Haq religious minority prisoners was increased within the month. Moreover, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting authorities banned local TV broadcasts of children’s cartoons in Azerbaijani Turkish. Environmental disasters, which took place in Bonab and Maraghe, were neglected by the authorities.
Azerbaijani activists detained at the anniversary of offensive cartoon demonstrations
ethnic and cultural rights activists were arrested at the fourth anniversary of
demonstrations of a cartoon humiliating Azerbaijanis in state-run “
Akbar Azad (m), Alireza Abdollahi (m), Latif Hasani (m), Mostafa Jamshidi (m), Hafez Sardarpur (m), Shahram Radmehr (m), Hamide Farajzade (f), Mahnaz Karimi (f), Abbas Lisani (m), Asger Akbarzade (m), Ramin Jabbari (m), Ayat Mehrali beyglu (m), Nader Azizi (m), Mehdi Zeynali (m), Mohammad Farajiyan (m), Siyamak Mirzayi (m), Aydin Khajeyi (m), Reza Abdi (m), Alireza Hosseinzade (m), Masud Hosseinzade (m), Hadi Akbari (m), Alireza Leshkari (m), Vali Azeriyun (m), Karim Fathipur (m), Sattar Barazesh (m), Bahman Nasirzade (m), Ahmad Aghayi (m), Behbud Gholizade (m), Daryush Andalibiyan (m), Babak Aksun (m), Sajjad Azizi (m), and Yusef Sudbar (m) are believed to have been arrested. Many are well known members of popular NGOs, women rights activists, student activists, editors of some student journals as well as writers. Some of the detainees were released after days of detention and interrogation, but others are still held in police custody. Most of the detainees are believed to be held in intelligence offices. The activists are not allowed access to a lawyer and visits from their families.
Azad, an Azerbaijani writer and journalist, was arrested at his home in
Akbar Azad is a member of founding board of “Language and Culture Association” (Dil ve Madaniyet Ocagi) and a contributing wirter to “Varliq” and “Yarpaq” journals. He was detained and sentenced to prison several times in recent years as a result of his activism.
Amnesty International and Reporters without Borders issued several statements condemning his arrest and called for his release.
Abdollahi, a cultural activist and founding member of the “Bilim Yolu” NGO, was
Hasani, a doctor of International Law and a lecturer in universities and high
women’s rights activist Hamide Farajzade was arrested in her house on
Azerbaijani journalists Mostafa Jamshidi, and Ramin Jabbari; Azerbaijani cultural activists Hafez Sardarpur, Nader Azizi, Mehdi Zeynali and Mehnaz Karimi; and Azerbaijani teachers Alireza Lashkari, and Mohammad Farajiyan in Meshkinsahar and Germi schools were arrested on days between May 17-19, 2010. Jabbari, Sardarpur, Azizi, Zeynali, and Lashkari were released after eleven days of detention on bail of 150 million Rials ($15,000) to be tried later. Jamshidi, Farajiyan and Karimi were released just one day after detention. They all were detained for the charges of “movement against the national security” and calling people to participate in demonstrations of fourth anniversary of offensive cartoon protests.
The activists were beaten when they were arrested. The security forces have not shown any warrant when arresting the activists. The detainees were not allowed to access a lawyer and visit their family during the detentions.
Lisani, a prominent Azerbaijani activist, and Asger Akbarzade, an Azerbaijani
cultural activist, were arrested on
Radmehr, an Azerbaijani activist was arrested in his father’s shop on
Khajeyi, an Azerbaijani student activist and a student of Law in
to the arrest, Khajeyi was detained for moderating the Azerbaijan Student
Movement (AZOH) website. He was later tried and sentenced to one year of
imprisonment and two years of parole. He was released from Tabriz Prison after
serving his one year jail term on
Aghayi, theformer director of Cultural Association of Turkish Students in
Nasirzade, an Azerbaijani poet and teacher in Maku, was arrested on
Security forces arrested Alireza Hosseinzade in his shop in Tabriz on May 11, 2010 along with Reza Abdi. Their houses were searched by forces and their computer and CDs were confiscated.
Azeriyun and Karim Fathipur, the relatives of activist killed in the May 2006
Protests in Naghade (Sulduz) were arrested on
Gholizade, an Azerbaijani Activist the director of the shut-down “Yashil
Azerbaycan” (Green Azerbaijan) NGO, was arrested in his photography shop in
Miyandoab (Qosacay) on
He had been previously summoned to court for using Turkish names and symbols in his shop and promoting cultural activities such giving Azerbaijani dance lessons in the Yashil Azerbaycan NGO. He was later released on bail.
Andalibiyan, Sattar Barazesh, Ysef Sudbar, Sajjad Azizi, and Babek Aksun
Azerbaijani activists from Miyandoab were called to the court on
Mehrali Beyglu, former Azerbaijani activist, was arrested in his house in
Sofiyan and was transferred to
Mohammadi Alvar, a fan and supporter Tractor Football Club, was arrested in his
Tractor FC’s football matches have been used for Azerbaijani youth protests in favor of ethnic and national rights. Supporters chant slogans in Azerbaijani Turkish and demand rights such as language instruction in their mother tongues.
Long-term arbitrary detention
Nasiri, an Azerbaijani activist who was arrested on
the protest around
Mehrabi Kalajahi, and Hossein Latifi have been held in custody for over five
months. They were arrested after writing “long live
Azerbaijani activists sentenced to prison
Mohammadjafari, an Azerbaijani cultural rights activist, was tired on
Mohammadjafari was arrested in a gathering in Babek Castel (Babek is a national hero of Azerbaijanis). He was released after 10 days of detention. He was charged with participating in gathering in order to violate public order.
Castel is located in
Yunes Aghayan is under pressure in Prison
Aghayan, an Azerbaijani prisoner of the Ahl-i Haq faith, is under unbearable
pressure by prison authorities. He started a hunger strike on
He was publicly subjected to insults by the chief prison guard. When Aghayan objected the behavior of the prison authority, he was beaten by other guards and then transferred to a criminal ward reserved for those that are charged with murder or trafficking. He was sent back to his former ward following his hunger strike.
Iran banned broadcasting programs in Azerbaijani Turkish
Local provincial radio and TVs that were established just in recent years in order to maintain the ethnic cultures in the ethnic regions have been a place to accelerate the assimilation of non-Persian ethnics. The language of programs broadcasted in the provincial radio and TVs are far from the Azerbaijani Turkish that people speak or know as Azerbaijani Turkish. However, recently Iranian authorities have limited broadcasting programs in Azerbaijani Turkish especially for children and teenagers in Turkish provinces.
The prevention of broadcasting in Azerbaijani Turkish programs is unconstitutional against ethnic minorities, who have a constitutional right to learn their mother language in schools, and have press and media in their mother tongues. Some of the rights given in recent years also are taken away and Iranian authorities bar ethnic minorities from establishing private TV and radio channels.
Azerbaijani student organizations are under pressure
forces stopped ten members of Arman Student Organization in a park in
director of Arman organization and a student of
Security forces banned the publication of a journal belonging to Arman organization in February. Following the event, Fateme Nasirpur, a member of Arman, was detained and Ghader Noruzi was called to intelligence office for further investigation. Noruzi was released on April 27 on bail to be tried later.
Azerbaijani students are suspended from education programs
Hamidi Shafigh, a student of sociology in
Hajar Kabiri, an Azerbaijani women rights activist, Sima Didar, and Majid Makuyizad Azerbaijani cultural activists were prevented from graduate studies just after the results for graduate studies exams were released. They were not given their degree and told to go to the exam center for further information.
Kabiri is graduated from sociology from Tabriz University and was former director-in-chief of “Talangor” student journal, and Didar was editor-in-chief of “Yasmaq” student journal in Tehran University. Makuyizad is graduated from Malek Ashtar University of Esfahan.
The student activists are marked by university authorities in Iran and are prevented from graduate studies.
Iran government neglect of environmental problems
Following a raining season in Maraghe and Bonab, an industrial waste pool in a factory which produces Sodium Carbonate ruptured and waste-water from the factory flooded into villagers’ farms and houses. There have also been reports of workers dying in factories due to the unsanitary conditions.
According to experts, it is likely that crops will not be able to be harvested in the region for over 15 years. Industrial wastes have been leaked to underground water sources and poisoned the water source of villagers.
Villagers as well as residents of the cities of Maraghe and Bonab have objected to the factories anti-environmental activities but Iranian government has sided with the factory, which belongs to members of Iran Revolutionary Guard.