Turkish-Farsi Book Fair Prevented by Authorities in Marand City

A permit previously granted to a Turkish-Farsi book fair was revoked by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance of Marand City only a day before launch. 

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance is in charge of granting permits for cultural events and prevented the book fair due to its promotion of Turkish-Farsi books.

In a post on Instagram, Nabati Publishing’s manager Vahid Fatemi announced that the permit had been cancelled. He was summoned and notified verbally about the annulment, and was told that the use of “Turkish” in the name of the event and in promotional materials was one of the reasons behind this decision.

In 2019, Marand’s public office obstructed the issuance of the permit for a similar bilingual book fair. At the time, the office of the publishing company “Tak Derakht” was shut down by the order of judicial authorities due to the publication of books in Turkish.

The rights of ethnic minorities relating to education and cultural education in their mother tongue are systematically suppressed by the regime.

Azerbaijanis Detained for Cultural Observances

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA)- A crackdown on Azerbaijani activists continued this past week when activist Reza Zarei was taken into custody by security forces, purportedly in connection to his newfound campaign promoting native [Azerbaijani] names.

Two Azerbaijani activists, Sajad Afrouzian and Sadollah Sasani, were released from a law enforcement detention center in Tabriz on Saturday, October 27th. One day prior, Afrouzian, Sasani, and Azerbaijani activist Ebrahim Ranjbar were arrested in front of Tabriz’s Maralan Cemetery after participating in a memorial service for Gholamreza Amani. As of the date of this report, no further information is available on Ranjbar’s whereabouts.

Gholamreza Amani was a renowned Azerbaijani activist who died in a car accident along with his two brothers on October 23, 2008. Public suspicions around the circumstances of his death — believed by some to be “premeditated murder”– have attracted heightened security presence to his memorial services since.

Coinciding the three aforementioned arrests was the detainment of Hakimeh Ahmadi, arrested in her home in the city of Marand, East Azerbaijan Province and transferred to an undisclosed location. No further information is currently available on her location or the charges against her.

Ahmadi was previously arrested this past September and released on a bail of one billion Rials [approximately $7,000 USD].

Tabriz is located in Azerbaijan province, in Iran’s northeast.