PUBLIC AI Index: MDE 13/046/2005
UA 219/05 Fear for safety/fear of torture or ill-treatment/ 24
August 2005
possible prisoner of conscience
IRAN Hojjatoleslam Ezimi Qedimi (m), aged 32, Muslim cleric

Hojjatoleslam Ezimi Qedimi was reportedly arrested on 5 August. He is believed to be held in a prison in Tabriz, the capital of the Iranian province of East Azerbaijan and may be at risk of torture or ill-treatment. Unconfirmed reports suggest that he may have gone on hunger strike and it is not clear whether he has been able to meet family members or a lawyer of his choice.
Hojjatoleslam Ezimi Qedimi is an ethnic Azeri Muslim cleric from Verziqan near Tabriz. He was arrested in Trabriz at the mausoleum of an Azeri hero called Baghir Khan as security forces reportedly broke up a celebration of the anniversary of the 1906 Constitution, which the then Shah of Iran was forced to introduce and which led to the first elected parliament.
Unconfirmed reports suggest Hojjatoleslam Ezimi Qedimi may be facing the charges of leading an illegal gathering on Constitution Day at the Mausoleum of Bagher Khan; giving an interview to the Shams-e Tabriz website; giving an interview to Ana Yurdu television station; opposition to the Islamic Republic; contempt of court; aiding the setting up and distribution of the publication "Rasul"; and misleading young religious students in the city of Qom.
Amnesty International is concerned that Hojjatoleslam Ezimi Qedimi may be held solely on account of the non-violent expression of his ethnic and cultural identity and if so would consider him to be a prisoner of conscience who should be released immediately and unconditionally.
Hojjatoleslam Ezimi Qedimi was previously arrested in 2004 during a sit-in protest against the Iranian government’s cultural and economic policies towards ethnic Azeris in Iran. He was reportedly held for 10 days, and then exiled for two years to the city of Qom. He is then said to have gone without permission to Tabriz to take part in the meeting at the Baghir Khan mausoleum.

Ethnic Azeris are the largest minority group in Iran. Although generally well-integrated into society, growing calls for a greater freedom of expression of their ethnic and cultural identity in recent years have been dealt with harshly by the Iranian authorities. Iranian Azeris have complained about the lack of Azeri language schools, and there have been reports that newspapers written in Azeri (a form of Turkish) have been banned. At the end of June 2005, scores of people were reportedly arrested following an Azeri cultural gathering at Babek Castle in the city of Kalaybar. Similar events in previous years have
also met with repression.

AI Index: MDE 13/046/2005 24 August 2005
This is Mehran Rahimi.

He is 6 years old.
He lives in a village in south Azerbaijan, namely Girmizi Khalife in Gosha Chay.

Look at his enthusiastic eyes.
Today, south Azerbaijan is full of those eyes.
Those eyes are disturbing dreams of chauvinists who deny existence of a great nation.
Those eyes are changing the future of people who have been crushed under pressure of organized Persian chauvinism. People who have been inculcated to shame when they are speaking their mother tongue.

Mehran Rahimi was beaten by his teacher in the first day of first grade of school. He was beaten because he asked for his obvious and natural right, that has been forgotten in fight among superpowers, but not forgotten by Mehran and other Mehrans. He asked to be educated in his own mother tongue which is spoken by some 30 million people in Iran.

Remember your own very first day in school!
How was the teacher kind?
Mehran was beaten by his teacher in a same day instead of enjoying it.

When the teacher was speaking in Persian, Mehran stood up and said that his parents and other students in the class are Turkish and he asked the teacher to teach in Turkish. The teacher hit his small hands by ruler and slapped him across his innocent face. Then, he took Mehran to the principal's office. Under psychological pressure, the 6-years-old boy was asked by the principal to explain who inspired him that “awkward” request!

Source: and
In Kaleybar, a court sentenced another 21 activists of (South) Azerbaijan National Movement to jail from 91 days to 1 year. Having been arrested in Great Azerbaijan’s Turks Congress in Babak Castle, 48 activists have been sentenced by the 1st branch of Kalaybar court since less than one month ago. The congress is annually held in protest at neglecting and violating the citizenship rights of Azerbaijanis in July. The court has sentenced them for propaganda against the Islamic regime and in favor of its opponents. The regime has recently put heavy pressure on the political and social activists, media and NGOs to prevent this democratic congress. Local newspapers are strongly prohibited to write news about Babak Castle Congress.
By : Alireza Asgharzadeh (University of Toronto)
Paper presented at a “Diaspora and Shifting Identities” Conference. University of Legon, West Africa, August 2002 (Please click here)
"Modern identities: We are the Azerbaijanis, We are the Turks of Azerbaijan......We are the Azerbaijani Turks"
By: Jibrael Savalan
(Please click here)