Azerbaijani-Turk Activist Mehrdad Sheikhi Arrested in Ardabil

On August 27, 2023, Azerbaijani-Turk activist Mehrdad Sheikhi was apprehended by security forces in Ardabil and subsequently transported to an undisclosed location.

The arrest of Sheikhi took place at his father’s residence. Throughout the apprehension, the agents conducted a thorough search of the premises, leading to the confiscation of several of his personal belongings. As of now, the specific reasons behind his arrest, his current location, and the exact charges brought against him remain unknown.

This incident marks another instance of Sheikhi’s confrontations with law enforcement due to his involvement in activist initiatives.

In the year 2022, the Department of Statistics and Publication of Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) documented a total of 225 detentions of individuals advocating for ethnic rights.

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.

Five Azerbaijani Turk Activists on Hunger Strike in Ardabil Prison

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.