Azerbaijani Turk Activist Saeed Soltani Sentenced to Two Years Imprisonment

Branch 3 of Tabriz’s Revolutionary Court sentenced Azerbaijani Turk activist Saeed Soltani to two years in prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Soltani’s lawyer was notified by the court, headed by Judge Fath-Nejad that his client had been sentenced to two years in prison, minus the detention period, on the charge of “membership in dissident groups in order to disturb national security”.

Babak Kiumarsi, the other Azerbaijani Turk activist involved in the case, was recently sentenced by the court to two years in prison on the same charge.

On October 4, 2020, the security forces arrested Soltani and Kiumarsi at Kiumarsi’s workplace in Jolfa City. At the time of arrest, the intelligence agents searched Soltani’s house and confiscated some of his personal belongings such as a laptop, cell phone, books and car.

On December 1, 2020, Kiumarsi was transferred from the detention centre to Tabriz Prison. Soltani was transferred the next day. On December 3, both were released on bail until the end of legal proceedings.

Many citizens were arrested during widespread protests in numerous cities which lasted from September 30 to October 18, 2020, in two parts of Iranian Azerbaijan. In an earlier report, HRANA identified 81 of these detainees. Security forces used violence during these mass arrests which, in some cases, led to broken hands or noses.

Azerbaijani Turk Activist Babak Kiumarsi Sentenced to Two Years In Prison

Branch 3 of Tabriz’s Revolutionary Court sentenced Babak Kiumarsi, an Azerbaijani Turk activist, to two years in prison. The resident of Jolfa City was arrested by security forces in Jolfa on October 4, 2020 and released on bail on December 3 of that year.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Kiumarsi was sentenced to two years in prison minus the detention period. The court, headed by Judge Fath-Nejad, notified Kiumarsi’s lawyer of the verdict. Kiumarsi was charged with “membership in dissident groups in order to disturb national security.”

Kiumarsi was arrested by security forces on October 4 along with Saeed Soltani. After being apprehended at his workplace in Jolfa City, he was transferred to a detention centre at the disposal of the Ministry of Intelligence in Tabriz.

On December 1, he was sent to Tabriz Prison after interrogations. Two days later, he was released on bail until the end of legal proceedings.

Many citizens were arrested during widespread protests in numerous cities which lasted from September 30 to October 18, 2020 in two parts of Iranian Azerbaijan. In an earlier report, HRANA identified 81 of these detainees. Security forces used violence during these mass arrests which, in some cases, led to broken hands or noses.

Four Activists Arrested in East Azerbaijan Province

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- Three Azerbaijani activists residing in Tabriz — Sajjad Afroozian, Ebrahim Ranjbar, and Sadollah Sasani — were arrested by security agents Friday, October 26th for participating in a memorial service for Gholamreza Amani. A fourth, Hakimeh Ahmadi, was arrested for undisclosed reasons in Marand.
Gholamreza Amani was a renowned Azerbaijani activist who died in a car accident along with his two brothers on October 23, 2008. Amid public suspicions around the circumstances of his death — believed by some to be a “premeditated murder” — security forces have kept an anxious eye and grip on the gatherings held in his memory.
A close source said security forces surrounded Maralan cemetery on Thursday, where Amani’s commemoration was scheduled to take place. Afroozian was among a number of activists contacted by security agents that day who threatened to detain them if they showed up.
Two of the arrested memorial attendees have been pursued by authorities in the past. Sasani was among a group of Azerbaijani activists arrested and interrogated in July 2017 during a gathering at Babak Fort. He was later released on a bail of 20 million tomans (approximately $5,000 USD). In one of his multiple run-ins with security agents and interrogators, Afroozian was violently apprehended in December 2016 in the city of Malekan and released the following February on a 50 million toman bond [approximately $12,000 USD].
Coinciding the three aforementioned arrests was the detainment of Hakimeh Ahmadi, arrested at her home in the city of Marand. Security agents reportedly roughhoused both her and husband, threatening them with a close-combat weapon. They offered no explanation for her arrest.
Ahmadi was previously arrested this past September and released on a 100 million toman bail [approximately $7,000 USD].
Afroozian, Ranjbar, Sasani, and Ahmadi have all been transferred to undisclosed locations.
Tabriz, Marand, and Malekan are located in the northeastern province of Azerbaijan, which borders the Republic of Azerbaijan and is home to Iran’s Azerbaijani minority.

Satellite Dishes Confiscated in Salmas County

HRANA News Agency – In an attempt to confiscate and collect all satellite dishes, Iranian security and police forces have harassed citizens throughout Salmas County and the surrounding areas in West Azerbaijan Province.

According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Iranian security forces in Salmas County have been entering homes without legal warrants, invading citizens’ privacy and harassing them for over a month.Additionally, a number of citizens have been arrested for owning a satellite dish and sentenced to one month in prison while others have been forced to pay cash fines ranging from $100 to $1,000.

 

Brick Factory Workers’ Strike Continues in Bukan

HRANA News Agency – The news from Saroghamish regions in Bukan [West Azerbaijan Province] indicates that the workers of several brick factories continue their strike which began on May 21, 2011.

 

According to a report by Mukrian News Agency, brick factory workers have demanded a wage increase for each one thousand bricks they handle.  Workers pulling brick wheelbarrows are asking for an increase of $3.30 per one thousand bricks while workers who place the bricks in furnaces are asking for an increase of $0.94.

 

At the time when this report was being prepared, brick factory employers were not willing to accept the demand made by workers.  Meanwhile, brick factory workers have also announced that until their requests are met, they will continue their strike.

 

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Two Afghani Citizens Killed in West Azerbaijan

HRANA News Agency – Iranian security forces opened fired on a number of Afghani citizens in the border region between Iran and Turkey and killed two of them.

According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), on Sunday, August 7, 2011, Iranian security forces killed two Afghani citizens when a group of immigrants were attempting to leave Iran through the border region in Salmas County, West Azerbaijan Province.During this incident which occurred in the border region close to Baroshkhoran village, two other Afghani citizens were severely injured.The wounded are currently in critical condition.
Since the Islamic Republic of Iran announced a decision to return Afghani refugees to Afghanistan, large number of them have been crossing the border illegally to seek asylum in Turkey.