Human rights monitors say a number of Azerbaijani-Iranian human rights activists remain imprisoned by the Iranian regime. Fakhteh Zamani is Director of the Association for the Defense of Azerbaijani Political Prisoners in Iran. She says Abbas Lisani [ah-bahs lih-sahn-ee] is one of them:
“Abbas Lisani, a prominent Azerbaijani-Iranian activist, has been in Ardibil prison since 2006. In addition to a sentence of fifty lashes, he has been given an additional sentence of twelve months to be served in Ahar prison. He has written several open letters, protesting unlawful treatment by prison officials and the violation of his rights and those of other Azerbaijani-Iranian human rights activists.”
Mr. Lisani has conducted several lengthy hunger strikes to protest mistreatment by Iranian authorities. Ms. Zamani says his life is in danger:
“As a result of hunger strikes and torture, he is suffering from a number of medical problems. We have reports that the torture he is receiving from prison authorities exceeds even the brutality of flogging, which is common in Iran.”
Other Azerbaijani-Iranians imprisoned for human rights activities include Behruz Seferi and his wife Leyla; Sa’id Metinpour and his brother Elirza; Ilqar Merendli, Jelil Qenilu, Mehemmed Nusreti, Mir Qasim Seyyendinzadeh, and Ebdullah Abbassi Javan. Relatives of Sa’id Metinpour and Ebdullah Javan say both men are in poor health because of ill-treatment.
Human rights lawyer Saleh Kamrani is still being held in Evin prison. The human rights monitoring group Amnesty International says that Mr. Kamrani was “detained solely in connection with his activities as a lawyer defending Iranian Azerbaijanis and others and for the peaceful exercise of his rights to freedom of expression and association in support of greater rights for the Iranian-Azerbaijani community.”
Earlier this year, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack reaffirmed the U.S. call for the Iranian government “to cease the systematic oppression of its citizens, respect the human rights of all Iranian people and to release those arrested and imprisoned for insisting on their universal rights.”