Southern Azerbaijan: New Report provides Details of Status of Numerous Imprisoned Activists
On 20 July 2016, HRANA released a new report providing key details to the status of numerous members of the Iranian Azerbaijani community in prison. Having been subject to the deeply secretive structures of the Iranian prison system, the report details the wide variety of outcomes meted out to the leading members of the community. As of yet, a significant proportion of the political prisoners remain at the mercy of the Iranian regime and are waiting for further judgement.
Below is an article published by Ahraz.org
According to the report of HRANA, Dr. Ismail Afkhami, who had been detained in Ardabil about a month ago, was released on the bail of 3 billion IRR from Tabriz Central Prison on June 8, 2016. Also Mr. Yones Rahimi, was released a few days ago though the condition for his freedom is unknown. There is no information about situation of the other detainees of the above-mentioned activists.
Approximately a month ago, six Iranian Turk activists had been arrested in Ardabil, Northwest Iran. The place to which they had been transferred was totally unknown until Habib Sasanian could ring his family informing that he was being kept at the custody of Iranian Intelligence Service in Tabriz. After a while Yones Rahimi, Habib Sasanian and Esmail Afkhami had been transferred to Tabriz Central Prison. Among them Yones Rahimi and Esmail Afkhami have been released recently. However the fate of other detainees is not clear so far. It is said the families of the detainees are under pressure not to speak to the media. All of them were active in protesting against Iranian government to stop supporting Armenia in the conflict between Armenia and Republic of Azerbaijan.
25 Bahai-run business have been closed down by authorities in Urmia.
According to BahaiNews website, during two week in May and June 2016 the Public Places Office have shut-down more than 28 Baha’i-owned businesses in the city of Urmia, the Azerbaijani city in northwest Iran. Based on the source’s information, after officials from the Public Places Office shut down these businesses, no information regarding these shut-downs has been found so far. According to an informed source, “none of the governmental bureaus or organizations took responsibility for these shut-downs; even the Intelligence Ministry Office in the City would not respond. After ten days of continuous follow-up by these Baha’i Citizens, the Public Places Office has stated that the Intelligence Ministry was the party requesting the shut-downs.”
In the past few years, the Public Place Office has sealed many Baha’i-owned businesses. It is supposed that the reason behind the shut-down of the Baha’i-owned businesses to be because of opposition of the Intelligence Ministry to Baha’i companies closing on the nine Baha’i religious holidays.
The first trial session for mother language rights defender was held:
On 16 June 2016, the court session of 8 civil rights activists in the city of Baharestan were held by the judge Mr. Hasani, Head of the judiciary office in the city. Akbar Azad, Alireza Farshi, Behnam Shaikhi, Hamid Manafi Nazarloo, Rostam Kazampoor, Mansour Fathi, Aziz Farshi and Mahmoud Ojaghlou are the Iranian Turk activists who had participated in the court session. They had been arrested in Feburary 2014, in connection with the ceremony of The International Mother Tongue Day in the city of Nasim Shar near Tehran. They all had been transferred to the prison of Evin at which been kept for several months. The accusation against the activists has been ““participation in illegal gatherings against national security”.
Bahboud Gholizadeh was relead on parole:
On 16 June 2016, Behboud Golizadeh, one of the most prominent Iranian Turk activists was released on parole after 40 month imprisonment in Tabriz Central Prison. It needs to be mentioned that Mr Gholizadeh along with other four members of the Board of Directors of Yeni GAMOH Party were sentenced to 9 years in prison in June 2013 by the rovelutionary court of Tabriz. The prominenet activists, Latif Hassani, Mahmoud Fazli, Shahram Radmehr, Ayat Mehr Ali Bayglu and Behboud Gholi Zade had been arrested on the charge of forming an illegal group, the New Southern Azerbaijan National Awakening Movement Party (Yeni GAMOH), and distributing anti-government propaganda in February 2013. Before, Mr. Mahmoud Fazli had also been released as conditional freedom in November 2015. The parole for the other prisoners of Yeni Gamoh founders has been rejected several times so far.
Photo Courtesy of Ahraz