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AI Index: MDE 13/055/2006


26 May 2006

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Iran: Incommunicado detention/ fear of torture and ill-treatment

PUBLIC AI Index: MDE 13/055/2006
26 May 2006

UA 151/06 Incommunicado detention/ fear of torture and

IRAN Dr Ahmad Gholipoor Rezaie, known as Dr Heydaroglu, (m) aged 47 or 48
Hasan Ali Hajabollu, known as Hasan Ark, (m) aged 47 or 48
Hassan Shahi (m)
Ahmad Soltani (m)
Changiz Bakhtave (m)
Babak Bakhtave (m)
Ebrahim Dashti (m)
Hussein Sababi (m)
Javad Abbasi (m)
Saber Beytallahi (m)
Ali Husseinejad (m)
Bahman Nasirzadeh (m)
Ali Halmi (m)
Mohsen Damirchi (m)
Asgar Akbarzadeh (m)
Ismail Rezaie (m)
and hundreds of others

The above named individuals and hundreds of others, who are members of the
Azeri Turkish minority community, have been arrested during and following
widespread and ongoing demonstrations in north-western Iran. They are
reportedly held incommunicado and it is feared that they are at risk of torture
and ill-treatment.

The demonstrations began following the publication of a cartoon in the daily
state-owned newspaper Iran on 12 May which offended many in the Azeri Turkish
community (who refer to themselves as Iranian Azerbaijanis). The newspaper was
suspended on 23 May and the editor in chief and the cartoonist arrested.

Azeri Turkish students at universities in cities such as Tehran and Tabriz were
the initial demonstrators. However, protests spread throughout cities such as
Tabriz, Oromieh, Ardebil, Maragheh and Zenjan in north-west Iran, where the
population is predominantly Azeri Turkish.

Demonstrations have grown dramatically, and in Tabriz alone around 300,000 to
500,000 people are said to have taken part in protests on 22 May. Hundreds of
demonstrators are said to have been arrested and on 24 May, the Commander for
Law Enforcement Force confirmed that around 60 people had been detained at each
of the disturbances.

Demonstrators were reportedly beaten by members of the Special Forces and the
plain clothes militia called the Basij. Scores were injured, and some or all or
those injured are reportedly detained in a military hospital where they are not
permitted visits from family members. It has been alleged that some
demonstrators were killed after Special Forces opened fire in the city of
Tabriz. However, this has been denied by the authorities.

Azeri activists Saber Beytallahi, Ali Husseinejad, Bahman Nasirzadeh, and
Mohsen Damirchi were detained by Ministry of Intelligence officials in the city
of Maku on or around 18 May. No further details about them are known to Amnesty
International. Ahmad Soltani and his brother were arrested at his home by
officials from the Ministry of Intelligence around 22 May. The officials
searched Ahmad Soltaniĺs home, and seized Turkish language books, CDs and
papers. It is believed that the brothers are detained at the Ministry of
Intelligence facility in Tabriz. Changiz Bakhtave and Hassan Shahi were
arrested in Tabriz on 22 May. It is not known however where they are detained.
Azeri activist, Dr Ahmad Gholipoor Rezaie, (also known as Dr Heydaroglu) was
also arrested on 22 May, along with Hasan Ali Hajabollu (also known as Hasan
Ark) after they attended a demonstration in Tabriz. Officials from the
Intelligence Ministry arrested them at around 6pm, as they were getting into a
car. They were taken initially to the police station, before being transferred
to a Ministry of Intelligence detention facility in Tabriz. They have been
denied access to their family and lawyer. Since his arrest, Dr Rezaieĺs family
have visited the detention centre daily in order to get news about him.

Javad Abbasi, a teacher and well-known Azeri activist was arrested on 24 May at
his home in the city of Salmas. Ministry of Intelligence officials searched his
house, and took Turkish books and CDs, as well as the familyĺs address book and
computer, prior to arresting him. His family believe that he is detained at a
Ministry of Intelligence detention facility in Oromieh, but neither they nor
his lawyer have been able to see him. Javid Abbasi began a six-month prison in
December 2005 after conviction of "promoting separatism and connection with
pan-Turkic groups". He did not however serve the full term and was released on
12 March.

Ebrahim Dashti was detained at his house in Tabriz by plain-clothed members of
the Ministry of Intelligence officials on 25 May. His family have not heard
from him since, but believe he is held at the Ministry of Intelligence
detention facility. His two sons were arrested when they went to the detention
facility to ask for information about their father. Amnesty International has
learnt that one of the sons is called Babak Dashti, but the name of the other
son is currently unknown. Hussein Sababi was arrested at his workplace in
Ardebil by plain-clothes officials from the Ministry of Intelligence on 25 May.
He had earlier been distributing flyers for a demonstration to be held in
Ardebil on 27 May. Asgar Akbarzadeh was arrested in the street the same day for
distributing flyers for the demonstration.

Ismail Rezaie was arrested at his home in Tabriz on 26 May by plain-clothed
individuals who failed to identify themselves. The men are believed to be
officials from the Ministry of Intelligence, who reportedly beat his wife
during the arrest.


AI Index: MDE 13/055/2006


26 May 2006



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