Amnesty International, in a statement, called for the elimination of harsh punishment against the Azerbaijani human rights advocate, Alireza Farshi.
Three years ago, Alireza Farsi was arrested for his peaceful activities, including advocating minority language rights, and was sentenced to 15 years in prison and 2 years in exile.
Alireza Farshi was the initiator of the online campaign to celebrate the International Mother Language Day. In February 2016, he was arrested and sentenced to 15 years in prison by a branch of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran province and 2 years in exile to the rural town of Bagh Malek in Khuzestan province.
The Revolutionary Tribunal found him guilty of activities against Islamic Republic and National Security and indicated that Farshi’s online petition to host the International Mother Language Day celebration was to encourage ethnic uprising.
The court also ridiculed this universal day by repeatedly using the title of “so called mother language day”, claiming that Alireza Farshi “has been working on a “so-called” cultural action, and in fact aiming at antagonism, along with “the Panturkist elements and separatists” to create ethnic excitement. ”
Farshi wrote in his defense : “Mr. Judge, what is the meaning of ” the so-called mother tongue ” Are you in doubt that we also have a mother tongue or you do not recognize our mother tongue as a mother tongue and call it “so-called mother tongue”? I merely wanted to collect signatures to get a license to celebrate the native language day. Nowhere in the law of the Islamic Republic of Iran does it indicate that the collection of signatures to obtain permission from legal institutions does constitute and collusion against the Islamic Republic. ”