Iran: Two Azeri poets detained incommunicado by security forces

Human rights organisations express concern for the welfare of Azerbaijani poets and writers Farid Huseyn and Shahriyar Hajizade, who have been held without charge in Iran since 2 May 2012.

Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry is reported to have sent five notes to Iran’s Foreign Ministry demanding clarification of the situation with the two missing men.

PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee published a news alert saying that the organisation is seeking immediate information about the whereabouts and welfare of the two men, as well as details about any charges against them. PEN fears that they may be held in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory, and calls for their immediate and unconditional release unless there is compelling evidence to charge them with a recognizable criminal offence.

According to PEN’s information, Azeri poets and journalists Farid Huseyn and Shahriyar Hajizade were reportedly arrested in Tabriz, northwestern Iran, on 2 May 2012. They had gone to Tehran on 29 April 2012 to participate in a poetry festival on 1 May, and were arrested on their way back home on 2 May 2012. They are said to have been kidnapped by a group of eight men in civilian dress when their bus arrived in the city.

Huseyn, aged 24, covers cultural, social and literary issues for the Azerbaijani newspaper 525 and the Azerbaijani daily Kaspiy; Hajizade, aged 22, is known for articles published online on social networks about youth issues and discussing issues concerning the rights of Iran’s large Azeri minority.

On 16 May 2012, a spokesperson from the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry reported that the two poets were being held by the Iranian security forces. Unconfirmed reports on some Iranian websites allege that they are accused of ‘espionage and drug trafficking’, although no official information has been made known about the reason for their detention or any charges against them and it is thought that their detention may be politically motivated.

Tensions between Iran and its neighbour Azerbaijan have escalated in recent months over a number of political issues. The two men remain detained incommunicado at an unknown location, without access to a lawyer or their families, and there are serious concerns for their well-being.


Vestnik Kavkaza – 14 July 2012:
Arrest of Azerbaijani poets in Iran

Pen International – 25 July 2012:
News: IRAN: Mounting concerns for two detained Azeri poets

 

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UPDATE ON 6 SEPTEMBER 2012:

RAPID ACTION NETWORK wrote in a news alert, RAN 57/12 – Update # 1:

IRAN: Azeri poets released

The Writers in Prison Committee (WIPC) of PEN International welcomes the release on 4 September 2012 of Azeri writers Farid Huseyn and Shahriyar Hajizade, both held inIransince 2 May 2012. According to news reports, the poets have been handed over to the Azeri Consulate General inTabriz, and are expected to arrive inBakutoday 6 September.

Azeri poets and journalists Farid Huseyn and Shahriyar Hajizade were arrested in Tabriz, northwestern Iran, on 2 May 2012, for alleged espionage. They had gone to Tehran on 29 April 2012 to participate in a poetry festival on 1 May, and were arrested on their way back home on 2 May 2012. Huseyn, aged 24, covers cultural, social and literary issues for the Azerbaijani newspaper 525 and the Azerbaijani daily Kaspiy; Hajizade, aged 22, is known for articles published online on social networks about youth issues and discussing issues concerning the rights ofIran’s large Azeri minority.

For more information read:

· A report from RFE/RL’s Azeri Service and another one from News.AZ

· The previous WiPC alert WiPC alert

Thank you to all who sent appeals on this case.

For further information please contact Cathy McCann at International PEN Writers in Prison Committee, Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339, email: cathy.mccann@pen-international.org 

 

 

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