Imprisoned Azerbaijani Turk Activist Abbas Lesani Dispatched to Medical Clinic

Yesterday, October 21, due to acute pain in his knees and backbone, Azerbaijani Turk activist Abbas Lesani was dispatched to a medical clinic outside Ardabil Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Lesani was dispatched to a clinic for an MRI test due to acute pain in knees and backbone. This is the third time that he has been dispatched outside of the prison for treatment.

Lesani has been held in Ardabil Prison since January 2019. In two separate cases, he has been sentenced to ten years and ten months combined.

On May 25, 2021, he was sent off to the hospital for the treatment of painful backbone and knees.

On June 24, 2021, due to a number of medical problems including high blood pressure, he was sent off shortly to a medical clinic in Ardabil for a medical test. After echocardiography, he was diagnosed with stenosis (a widening of the opening of a heart valve). Therefore he requires further treatment outside of the prison.

On January 15, 2019, Abbas Lesani was summoned by Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court in Tabriz and, following his appearance at the court, he was arrested and transferred to Ardabil Prison.

Thereafter, the Ardabil Revolutionary Court sentenced him to eight years imprisonment and 2 years exile in Yazd City on a charge of “forming a group with the purpose to disrupt national security”.

This verdict was increased to 15 years imprisonment and two years exile on appeal. In July 2020, his appeal against the conviction to the supreme court of Iran was dismissed. Under Article 134, a maximum sentence of 10 years is enforceable. In addition, earlier Branch 1 of the court of appeal in Ardabil had dismissed the request of applying ” Punishment Reduction Law”.

In May 2019, in another case, Branch 26 of the Court of appeal in Eastern Azerbaijan sentenced Lesani to ten months in prison on a charge of “propaganda against the regime and in favour of opposition political groups”.

Abbas Lessani has faced other arrests and convictions due to his civil activities. In the last instance, on July 2, 2018, together with three residents of Ardabil, he was arrested by the county intelligence agents, several days before holding an annual gathering in Babak Fort (a gathering to celebrate the Babak Khorramdin’s birthday).

He was reportedly arrested for publishing a video in which he had encouraged people to attend the gathering. After spending nine days in detention, Lesani was released on bail.

Ali Vaseghi Granted Leave on Bail For One Week

On Tuesday, October 5, Azerbaijani Turk activist Ali Vaseghi was released on bail for a one week leave from Ardabil Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Vaseghi was granted the leave on a bail of 50 million tomans.

On June 10, 2020, Ali Vaseghi and his brother Reza Vaseghi were arrested violently at their workplace and kept in detention until June 17 when they were released on bail. Intelligence forces inspected their business location on the  day after the arrest and confiscated their personal computers and some other belongings.

Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court in Ardabil sentenced Reza and Ali to 2 and 3 years imprisonment respectively. Images that were published on Telegram of the injuries on the activists’ bodies from beatings by intelligence forces, along with slogans such as “long live those who fight for freedom”, were invoked in the trial.

Ultimately, this sentence for Ali Vaseghi was reduced to two years on appeal.

On June 13, along with six other Azerbaijani Turk activists, Ali Vaseghi went on a hunger strike in protest against the housing of political prisoners and prisoners of violent crimes in the same prison wards. They ended their hunger strike after prison officials promised to address their demands.

Twelve Azerbaijani Turk Activists Summoned to Revolutionary Court of Ardabil

Twelve Azerbaijani Turk activists were recently summoned to the Second Branch of the Ardabil Revolutionary Court related to a charge of ‘insulting the leadership’.

According to the HRANA, the news agency, of Human Rights Activists, the activists have been identified as Hossein Balakhani Issa Lou, Mostafa Parvin, Morteza Parvin, Hamed Heydari Baris, Mohammad Jolani Ojagh, Parviz Siabi Gorjan, Sobhan Bakhshi, Mehdi Hooshmand, Bahman Khairjoo, Mojtaba Parvin, Asgar Akbarzadeh Khezrabadi, and Sajad Jolani Ojagh.

The report states that the activists were asked to go to this branch on Monday, September 20, to defend themselves.

The activists have been accused of ‘participating in disturbing public order by creating a commotion’, ‘attempt to harm themselves’,’ insulting and rebelling against law enforcement officers on duty’, ‘insulting the leadership’, and ‘participating in the community and colluding against internal security’.

These citizens had already been summoned to Branch 10 of the Ardabil Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor’s Office on April 21 in connection with the September 2020 rallies in the Turk-populated areas of the country. They had been arrested violently by police during which in some cases resulted in broken arms and noses.

According to Article 27 of the Constitution, participation in rallies and demonstrations is free of charge and is considered peaceful if participants are unarmed.

Azerbaijani Turk Activist Ali Shahi Arrested by Security Forces in Ardabil

On Friday, September 3, Azerbaijani Turk activist Ali Shahi was arrested by security forces and taken to an unknown location.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, security forces searched Shahi’s home in Ardabil and confiscated some of his belongings, including his cell phone and computer.

As of this writing, the reasons for his arrest, the charges against him, and his whereabouts are unknown.

Mohammad Sadeghzadeh Executed in Ardabil Prison on Charge of Murder

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, 30-year-old Mohammad Sadeghzadeh was executed in Ardabil Prison on the morning of this Wednesday, September 1.

Sadeghzadeh, whose identity has been verified by HRANA, had previously been sentenced to death for murder.  Mr. Sadeghzadeh was arrested about four years ago and had since been held in Ardabil Prison.

Iran ranks first in the world in citizen executions per capita, according to international organizations. The Statistics and Publication Center of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) reported that between January 1 and December 20 of 2020, at least 236 citizens were executed.

One of these citizens was executed publicly, and two were juvenile offenders. An additional 95 citizens were sentenced to death. According to the same report, more than 72% of executions in Iran are not reported by the government or the judiciary, which human rights organizations call “secret” executions.

Mr. Sadeghzadeh’s execution has not been announced by Iranian media or official sources as of this writing.

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Citizen Detained by IRGC intelligence in Ardabil Province

IRGC intelligence agents recently arrested a citizen in one of the cities of Ardabil Province.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting ILNA, the citizen was arrested for what is being called “insulting Islamic sanctities”, “disturbing the public mind”, and “publishing [disappointing] content to blacken [catastrophize] the situation in the country”.

The citizen was transferred to prison by order of a judicial official. The report does not mention the identity of the detainee, the name of the city he was detained in, or the prison where he is being held.

HRANA Recap: This Week’s Protests in Iran

Saturday, June 26

Following the nationwide strikes of contract workers of refineries, petrochemicals and power plants, workers of Rijal Petrochemical Complex located in Mahshahr Special Zone, workers of the ODCC working in Isfahan Oil Refinery, and workers of Phase 2 of Bidboland Gas Refinery of Behbahan (ODCC) joined the movement. Kerman ranchers, and political and civil activists of Tehran also held protest rallies.

ODCC workers in Isfahan:

 

Regal petrochemical workers in Bandar-e-Imam:

 

Political and civil activists in Tehran:

Ranchers in Kerman:

 

Sunday, June 27

Workers of Gamma Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Company in Jask terminal, workers of Sazeh Pod Company working in Bushehr Petrochemical Company, radiograph workers of Nima Azmoun Steel, Radiography Companies, Pishtazan Aria, and Pioneers of Fars Technologies working in Phase 2 of Abadan Refinery, went on strike and joined the “Strike” movement.

A number of other protests happened as well. A group of shareholders of Azerbaijan Automotive Industry Company (Azovico), several official employees of Shiraz Oil Refinery, a group of pest control workers of Haft Tappeh Sugar Company, retirees of the Isfahan Steel Company and Khuzestan Steel Company, Homa Airlines retirees, a group of teachers of Green Score Letter, a group of retired workers, ranchers in Isfahan, Yazd, Fars and Khorasan Razavi provinces, a group of Izeh Azad University students, several businesses in Iranshahr, and workers at truck-washing and disinfection sites all staged protest rallies to call on their demands be addressed.

 

Workers of Gamma Oil, Engineering and Construction Companies Association of Oil, and Gas and Petrochemical Company:

 

Bushehr petroleum workers:

 

Abadan refinery workers:

 

Shareholders of Azerbaijan Automotive Industry:

 

Parsian petroleum workers in Shiraz:

Pest control workers:

Retirees of the Isfahan Steel Company and Khuzestan Steel Company:

Homa Airlines retirees:

Teachers of Green Score Letter:

 

Ranchers of Isfahan, Yazd, Fars and Khorasan Razavi provinces

Retirees seeking social security:

Workers at truck-washing and disinfection:

Students of Izeh University:

Monday, June 28

East Azarbaijan Railway technical workers,  a group of Isfahan farmers, bankrupted shareholders of Samen coin, and a group of MG car remitters, a group of truck drivers in Ardakan city went on strike to protest the non-fulfillment of their demands. Teachers at Green Score Letter also gathered in protest for the second day in a row.

Shareholders of Samen coin:

 

MG car remitters:

 Technical construction workers of East Azerbaijan railway:

Green Score Letter teachers:

 

Isfahan Farmers:

Ardakan truck drivers:

 

Tuesday, June 29

Workers of Arta Energy Company working in Ardabil Petrochemical Company, workers of Andimeshk Power Plant, Lamerd Refinery workers and Lordegan Petrochemical Workers, Azad University professors, a group of Kaveh company shareholders, a group of servants and caretakers of Mashhad schools, a group of dermatology assistants of medical universities, a group of school teachers, a group of green resume teachers, and a number of medical students and physicians in different cities of the country, including Kerman, Hamedan, Kermanshah, Isfahan, Shiraz and Tehran, held protest rallies.

Andimeshk Power Plant employees:

 

Ardabil Petrochemical Company employees:

 

Lamerd Refinery workers:

 

 Green Score Letter teachers:

University professors:

Physicians and medical students in different cities:

Kaveh company shareholders:

School janitors in Mashhad:

Dermatologists and assistants:

School teachers:

Wednesday, June 30

North Azadegan Oil workers, employees of Sepahan Isfahan Cement Factory, a group of retirees of the bus company, a group of taxi drivers in Saqez, a group of journalists, and a group of official employees of Gachsaran Oil and Gas Company held protest rallies.

Taxi drivers in Saqez:

Sepahan Isfahan Cement Factory workers:

Bus company retirees:

Journalists:

 

Gachsaran Oil and Gas Company employees:

 

Thursday, July 1

A group of employees of Persian Gulf Holding Petrochemical Companies, and retirees of Isfahan Telecommunication Company held protest rallies.

Isfahan Telecommunication Company workers:

Azerbaijani Turk Activist Saman Bidar Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison

On June 16, the Ardabil Revolutionary Court sentenced Azerbaijani Turk activist Saman Bidar to 3 years and 45 days in prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the sentence has been put on a hold for 3 years.
Based on the verdict issued by the First Branch of the Revolutionary Court of Ardabil, Mr. Bidar was charged with “Propaganda activities against the regime by publishing unrealistic news that leads to disturbance of the public”, “Insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic”, and “Insulting the leadership”.
He was sentenced to a total of 3 years and 45 days in prison, including the days of previous detention.
 

Eight Azerbaijani Turk Activists End Hunger Strike in Ardabil and Evin Prisons After Officials Promise to Meet Their Demands

On June 14, eight Azerbaijani Turk activists ended their hunger strike in Ardabil and Evin Prisons after the authorities’ favorable promise that their demands would be met.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on Saturday, June 13, Abbas Lesani went on a hunger strike to protest the non-observance of the principle of separation of prisoners based on crime and the punitive transfer of political prisoners to wards with prisoners of violent crimes.
Seven other prisoners had gone on hunger strikes in support of Lesani’s endeavor.
The prisoners involved were Abbas Lesani, Yousef Kari, Mehrdad Sheikhi, Ali Vaseghi, Reza Vaseghi, Siamak Mirzaei, Behnam Sheikhi, and Kianoosh Aslani.

Abbas Lesani Denied Medical Attention in Ardabil Prison

Azerbaijani Turk activist Abbas Lesani has been denied transfer to a hospital outside Ardabil prison, despite  numerous serious medical ailments.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Lesani suffers from high blood pressure, lumbar disc, and heart problems.
According to an informed source, Mr. Lesani had a dangerously-high blood pressure of 190 on June 9, and despite the doctors’ order to send him to the hospital, he remained ignored by prison authorities.
Lesani was previously sentenced by the Ardabil Revolutionary Court to eight years in prison and two years in exile. The sentence was increased to 15 years in prison and 2 years in exile on charges of “forming a group with the intention of disrupting the country’s security” by the Court of Appeals. Under Article 134, a maximum sentence of 10 years is enforceable.
In another case, Branch 26 of the East Azarbaijan Court of Appeals sentenced him to 10 months in prison on charges of “propaganda activities against the regime and in favor of opposition groups”.
Abbas Lesani has a history of arrests and numerous convictions for his activist work.