Yesterday, September 9, Azerbaijani Turk activist Roozbeh Piri was beaten, arrested, and transferred to an unknown location by security forces in Tabriz.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the reasons for Mr. Piri’s detention and his current whereabouts are still unknown.
Earlier, Branch 103 of the Criminal Court of Tabriz, presided over by Judge Mikael Vatankhah Alvar, sentenced Roozbeh Piri to pay a fine of 5 million tomans for “publishing lies in cyberspace”. The Court of Appeal of East Azerbaijan Province upheld the verdict of the primary court.
Piri had previously been arrested and convicted for his peaceful activities. He was arrested during the nationwide protests in Tabriz in November 2019 and sentenced by the court of appeals to 91 days in prison. Mr. Piri was released from Tabriz Prison in July 2020 after enduring his sentence.
Roozbeh Piri is the editor of Tabriz Magazine and the founder of Navid Etedal, an independent student organization at Tabriz Azad University.
On Sunday, September 5, Azerbaijani Turk activist Abbas Nikravan was arrested by security forces and taken to an unknown location.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Nikravan is a native of Salmas in West Azerbaijan Province.
Mr. Nikravan has a history of detention. He was arrested in July 2018, during the annual gathering of Babak Castle, and was released on bail a week later.
As of this writing, no information is available on the reasons for his detention, the charges against him, or his whereabouts.
On Tuesday, June 29th, Azerbaijani Turk activist Alireza Farshi Dizaj Yakan was finally transferred to a hospital after facing prolonged medical negligence in the Greater Tehran Prison.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Mr. Farshi, who was in the midst of a 2 year sentence in the Greater Tehran Prison, was sentenced last month to an additional four years and two months by the Tehran Revolutionary Court.
Farshi has suffered from high blood sugar, an infection in his left eye, and numbness in his right hand. The lack of proper treatment of the prisoner’s diabetes has caused tremors in his body. He was eventually transferred to the endocrinology and metabolism department of Loghman Hakim Hospital for medical examinations and tests.
Alireza Farshi is from Marand City in East Azerbaijan. He has a master’s degree in computer engineering from Sharif University of Technology.
Mr. Farshi, while serving a two-year sentence in the Greater Tehran Prison, was recently sentenced by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran to a total of over 4 more years. On February 27, Farshi’s interrogation session was held virtually in the Third Branch of Evin Court. He was informed of the meeting less than 12 hours before it was set to take place.
The verdicts issued in June of this year were upheld by Branch 36 of the Tehran Court of Appeals, presided over by Judge Ahmad Zargar .
The Azerbaijani Turk activist suffered eye injuries during his time in prison and was sent on a three-day medical leave from Greater Tehran Prison on Saturday, May 7. But despite the insistence of his ophthalmologist on the urgent need for eye surgery on this prisoner, prison officials refused to extend his leave.
The report does not specify Farshi’s current condition in Loghman Hakim Hospital.
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.
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.
Azerbaijani Turk activists Yousef Kari, Abbas Lesani, Mehrdad Sheikhi, Ali Vaseghi, and Reza Vaseghi have gone on hunger strike to protest prison authorities failing to comply with their demands.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the prisoners were transferred to the quarantine center of Ardabil Prison for isolation on Sunday, June 13, and have been barred from phone calls.
Mehrdad Sheikhi, Ali Vaseghi and Reza Vaseghi have been on a hunger strike since June 13 to protest the non-observance of the principle of separation of crimes and the transfer of political prisoners to wards with prisoners of violent crimes. Abbas Lesani and Yousef Kari have been on strike since Saturday, June 12th.
Despite the long term physical and mental harm that hunger strikes can cause, many prisoners in Iran are resorting to this mode of protest, as it is one of the only tools of expression available to them. Many of these strikes take place in protest of the lack of attention to problems in prisoners’ cases, non-observance of inmates’ rights, and prolonged uncertainty about the status of their detention.
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.