#Human Rights
UN, Ahmed Shaheed, Navi Pillay, Ban Ki Moon, IR Embassies, Amnesty, HRW, EU members

Five Azerbaijani prisoners of consciences in Iran and civil rights activists Latif Hasani (43), Mahmud Fezli (45), Shahram Radmehr (38), Ayat Mehr-Ali-Beyli (Yürüş) (35) and Behbud Quluzade (48) declared a hunger strike on July 13, 2013 in protest of the sentence handed down against them.

They are continuing a hunger strike -- which has already turned critical for their health. Relatives of the victims have confirmed that some of the activists have already been hospitalized because of the strike. According to the latest update from the prisoners' families on Sunday, visitations have been banned and the prisoners were transported on the eighth day of their hunger strike to a prison in Tehran without informing their families.

The imprisoned activists confirm that they will continue to strike until their prison sentence is cancelled, which they say the court decided under the pressure of the Iranian intelligence community.

In May 2013, a revolutionary court in Iran’s East Azerbaijan Province charged five members of an organization named New Southern Azerbaijan National Awakening Movement with “establishing an illegal organization to undermine the state's national security” and “engaging in propaganda against the regime,” and sentenced each of them to nine years in prison.

Amnesty International issued a report on June 12 expressing worry for the situation of imprisoned activists in Iran, including those five from Yeni GAMOH.

The prisoners were detained during a series of arrests that began in December last year in Iran, and they were sent to the central prison in Tabriz. Families of the prisoners have confirmed that the five activists were in solitary confinement and that they were tortured physically and mentally by Iranian intelligence officers before being sent to prison in March. Included in the unlawful treatment of the detainees were long periods of interrogation, severe beatings and days of solitary confinement. They were only permitted to get a lawyer almost five months after their detention and just one week before the court hearing, the families also said.

The Association for Defence of Azerbaijani Political Prisoners in Iran, ADAPP, calls on the Iranian government to release all prisoners of conscience who have been unlawfully arrested for advocating for linguistic and cultural rights, and to allow uninterrupted peaceful assembly of Azerbaijani-Turks, demonstrating in favour of linguistic and cultural rights as guaranteed by Article 27 of the Iranian Constitution.

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The Urgent Action: Five Azerbaijani Political Prisoners in Iran on Hunger Strike petition to UN, Ahmed Shaheed, Navi Pillay, Ban Ki Moon, IR Embassies, Amnesty, HRW, EU members was written by ADAPP and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.