ADAPP Denounces the Iranian Government’s Crackdown on Civilians

27 June 2009

The Association for Defence of Azerbaijani Political Prisoners in Iran (ADAPP) supports the people of Iran who are now struggling against oppression. The current election crisis reflects the democratic urgings of the Iranian people. ADAPP condemns the violence used after the election to crush this popular democratic surge. The videos of Basij militiamen firing upon innocent civilians have deeply disturbed its members. ADAPP denounces the violence and it calls for the complete halt to the violent repression used by the Islamic Republic.

In May 2006, dozens were killed and scores were arrested after Azerbaijanis took to the streets to protest a cartoon published in a state-run newspaper that compared Azerbaijanis to cockroaches. Although the crackdown was brutal, much like the recent measures against the Iranian election protests, it received little to no attention from the international community. ADAPP understands the full potential of media coverage and asks that the international community continue its efforts to advance those who are demanding democracy and free speech in Iran.

Social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook have proven to be effective tools in reporting the atrocities committed by the Iranian government. ADAPP, however, urges caution in publishing reports from social networking media because it is believed that officials have infiltrated these sites and are making false reports.

For 3 years, ADAPP has maintained a close relationship with Azerbaijani rights groups in Iran and continues to maintain contacts with Iranian Azerbaijanis throughout Tabriz, Urmia, Ardabil and various other predominantly Azerbaijani cities. Since the beginning of the Iranian election protests on June 13, 2009, it has been in daily contact with Iranian Azerbaijanis.

After the election results were publicized, protests erupted in the cities of Tabriz and Urmia. During the demonstrations, eyewitnesses reported that 2 people were murdered in Urmia, Iran on June 12 and June 15. Eyewitnesses also reported that 3 were beaten to death in Tabriz during the June 15 protests.

Since June 15, however, Azerbaijanis have not organized into formal protests. Despite the various videos and reports that have emerged claiming recent riots in Tabriz, ADAPP’s contacts have asserted that the predominantly-Azerbaijani cities in Iran have remained relatively quiet.

ADAPP offers its most heart-felt condolences to the families of the victims of the government’s brutal crackdown. ADAPP supports Iran’s shift toward democracy and asks that the government of Iran support the wishes of the Iranian people.