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.