The Islamic Revolutionary Appeal Tribunal of Tehran which was hearing the appeals of four South Azerbaijani activists, Mr. Akbar Azad, Alireza Farshi, Behnam Sheikhi and Hamid Monafi Nadarli rushed the appellants to make their submissions. They have been sentenced to 10 to 15 years of imprisonment for merely organizing a peaceful gathering on International Mother Language Day 4 years ago. At today’s brief appeal hearing which did not last an hour for four appellants, the activists maintained their innocence and argued that organizing peaceful protest and demanding education in their mother language are their basic human and constitutional rights and that the lower court’s finding of “guilt” and its harsh sentences must be quashed. The Appeal Tribunal deferred its decision and therefore, the activists fates are to be decided.
Mr. Akbar Azad, Alireza Farshi, Behnam Sheikhi and Hamid Manafi Nadarli were detained by the Intelligence Agency of the occupying regime of Tehran on the last International Mother Language Day and accused them of subversive attempt against the Islamic Republic. The Activists had merely planned and attempted to obtain permit from the authorities to lunch a peaceful gathering on the Mother Language Day. However, the lower court found them guilty of the charges and harshly sentenced Mr. Farshi to 15 years imprisonment and 2 years exile to Alahwaz, Mr. Azad to 10 years imprisonment and 2 years exile to Ilam province, Mr. Shikhi to 10 years imprisonment and 2 years exile to Mascid Soleiman, Mr. Manafi Nadarli to 10 years imprisonment and 2 years exile to Loristan.