Iran: A Human Rights Report on the Azerbaijani Turks in Iran
Quarterly Report: April-June 2023
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This report offers an analysis of the human rights violations faced by the Azerbaijani Turks in Iran during the months of April, May, and June of 2023. Its purpose is to bridge the existing gap in the documentation of human rights abuses in the Azerbaijani region of Iran. The report is a collaborative effort between an initiative group of Azerbaijanis from Iran, currently based in the US and Canada as well as the network of Azerbaijani human rights activists within Iran.
The report commences with an introduction, providing pertinent background information about the initiative group and its objectives. A summary is presented with the principal findings of the report. Subsequently, the report delves into comprehensive sections with specific cases that classify and emphasise the gathered information on human rights violations encompassing arrests and releases, cases of exile, and instances of severe punishments, namely capital punishment. It provides detailed accounts for each case including the imposed sentences and the profound physical and psychological toll endured by the victims and their families.
During the second quarter of 2023, a total of 16 individuals were arrested by the authorities. Some of them have been released after posting bail pending the completion of the legal process. The report includes updates on three previously arrested cases, as well as information about one person who was summoned by the disciplinary committee of the university. Three individuals have been subjected to exile as a punitive measure. Unfortunately, one person tragically succumbed to the immense pressures endured in prison and attempted to commit suicide. At least three people were executed by hanging as a result of being sentenced to capital punishment. One individual who was sentenced to capital punishment passed away before the execution could be carried out. He was being transferred to solitary confinement prior to the execution when his heart stopped abruptly due to the immense stress and abuse he had endured.
Despite the issued order of “Amnesty and Reduction of Public Punishment” which called for ongoing cases to be halted and closed regardless of the proceeding stage, Alireza Farshi, Akbar Azad, Ali Rezai, and many others are required to serve their respective sentences. Tragically, Siamak Lotfi, Vahid Seyfi and Yousef Khoob Imcheh (Mehrad) were subjected to execution by hanging, despite the anticipation of being granted amnesty.
The conclusion of the report encapsulates key insights derived from the collected information and the recommendations section offers actionable recommendations for addressing the documented human rights violations.