Southern Azerbaijan: Activist Forced to Iran
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Hadi Sid Javad Musavi, an activist with a nationalist Azeri group inside
"As far as we know, he was arrested as soon as he arrived on Iranian territory," said Aliyev, director of
"This was someone who was involved in a struggle for freedom in
Aliyev said Musavi, born in 1981, was arrested and tortured after he participated in a July 2004 protest in northwestern
He is linked to the nationalist National Awakening Movement of Southern Azerbaijan, which opposes
Aliyev said the decision to expel Musavi violated international refugee conventions and was based on
Azerbaijani authorities rejected the accusation.
"Musavi has not been deported from the country and there was no underlying political reason involved," the head of the Azerbaijani interior ministry's migration service, Shovgi Gadiyev, said.
"Musavi was administratively expelled because he was residing on the
Northern Iran is home to 16-30 million ethnic Azeris, according to varying estimates, far more than the eight million in
Azeris speak a language close to Turkish, but have cultural and religious links to Shiite Muslim Iran.
Azeri nationalists claim Iranian authorities have violently suppressed attempts to promote minority rights, most recently last May, when protests broke out over an official newspaper's caricature of Azeris as cockroaches.
Dissident groups claim more than two dozen protesters were killed and hundreds arrested in an ensuing crackdown. The claims have not been independently verified.
Ex-Soviet Azerbaijan is a key US ally in the Caucasus region but also has close diplomatic and trade relations with