Jul 08, 2010

Southern Azerbaijan: Association For The Defence Of Azerbaijani Political Prisoners In Iran

Active ImageThe Association for the Defence of Azerbaijani Political Prisoners in Iran (ADAPP) joins the world and fellow international human rights organizations in condemning the stoning sentence of Sakineh Mohammadie Ashtiani by the Islamic Republic of Iran.


Below is an article published by Association for the Defence of Azerbaijani Political Prisoners in Iran:

ADAPP condemns stoning of any kind and for any reason as is stipulated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 5—of which Iran is also a signatory.

ADAPP is all too familiar with cases involving wrongful convictions, especially as it relates to Iranian minorities. In Iran, language deprivation and inadequate communication is systemic and a culturally-accepted means of convicting unsuspecting minorities. An ethnic Azerbaijani, Ashtiani was forced to unknowingly confess, incriminating herself. (It is unclear if torture played a role in her confession.) Her lawyer, Mohammad Mostafavi, believes her inability with Farsi is a major factor in her conviction.  Forced confessions due to misunderstanding is very common for any ethnic minority with limited Farsi ability. The imposed Farsi language assimilation on all Iranian minorities is a gross injustice that produces systemic racism and very punitive sentences for non-Persians.

Ashtiani’s trials, marred by inconsistent and circumstantial evidence, are prejudiced at best. Mostafavi argues for total dismissal because of an Iranian provision that accords judges too much jurisdiction and too little impartiality. This is a clear insubordination of the Article 74 of the Iranian Penal Code. ADAPP also condemns the hypocrisy of the Iranian government in its dealings with its people. According to the ADAPP-produced July 2009 monthly report, Ashtiani has been prison-detained since 2005. Moreover, an earlier trial sentenced her to 100 lashes.  

This unjust treatment must stop. Too many innocents have suffered senselessly. ADAPP commends the international community’s support and urges more pressure on the Iranian government, especially for those unknown detainees facing similar circumstances.