NewsSpecial WireRights group concerned about fate of Azeri Iranian

Rights group concerned about fate of Azeri Iranian

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Iran Focus: London, Jun. 04 – Prominent international human rights group Amnesty International is concerned about the fate of an Azeri Iranian who may be on death row for his political activity. Iran Focus

London, Jun. 04 – Prominent international human rights group Amnesty International is concerned about the fate of an Azeri Iranian who may be on death row for his political activity.

Hossein Forouhideh, an advocate of linguistic and social rights for Iranians of Azerbaijani ethnicity, is reportedly facing imminent execution, Amnesty said in a statement last week, adding that he had allegedly been tortured.

Amnesty said it believed that Forouhideh, from the Khoy region of Iran’s West Azerbaijan Province, was sentenced to death by Bench One of the Revolutionary Court in the city of Orumieh.

He is thought to have been accused of spying for Turkey.

“He has reportedly spent more than nine months in a detention facility under the control of the Ministry of Intelligence in the city of Urumiye. Torture has allegedly left him with extensive bruising to his torso and a number of broken ribs”, Amnesty said.

“In March the authorities told his mother, who lives in Khoy, that he had already been executed, and that she should collect his body from the detention facility. When she got there, the guards told her that Hossein Forouhideh had not yet been executed. She recently visited the detention facility again, but was not allowed to visit her son, and fears he has been tortured.

“His cousin, Iraj Naji, is in solitary confinement and Amnesty International fears that he may be at risk of torture or ill-treatment”, the statement added.

Iraj Naji, who has been languishing in prison since October 2006, was accused of inciting the people of Khoy to take part in a demonstration in May 2006 against the publication in the state-owned daily “Iran” of a caricature which many Iranian Azerbaijanis considered offensive.

In May 2006, at least 100,000 Azeris rallied in the city of Tabriz against the publication of the insulting cartoon.

Subsequently, thousands took part in often violent anti-government demonstrations in the towns of Orumieh, Zanjan, Marand, Naqadeh and Ardebil.

At least nine people were killed by government forces in the course of clashes with the protestors.

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