Mohammad Khakpour Court Hearing was Held

The court hearing on charges against Mohammad Khakpour, a civil activist residing in Ardebil, was held at the Revolutionary Court of Kalibar.

According to the Campaign for the Defense of Political and Civil Prisoners, on Tuesday, January 1st, 2019, a hearing was held at the Revolutionary Court of Kalibar, for civil activist, Mohammad Khakpour from Azerbaijan.

The charge against this civil activist is “propaganda against the regime.”

Earlier, the First Branch of the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Public Prosecutor of Ardebil summoned Mr. Khakpour on behalf of the Prosecutor’s Office of the city of Kalibar. After being charged, he was temporarily released on 30 million Tomans bail.

On Thursday, July 5th, 2018, Mohammad Khakpour was arrested along with several other residents by security guards for attending the annual “Babak Castle,” and was taken to the Ahar Detention Center. He was temporarily released after three days.

During his arrest, he was beaten, similar to other activists detained at the annual ceremony of the Babak castle.

At the same time as the Babak Castle’s annual ceremony in July 2018, security officials arrested dozens of civil activists in the Babak castle and various Azerbaijani cities.

Babak castle or Babak Fortress is built on top of a 2300m high mountain, about 3km from the city of Kalibar. The castle was built during the Sasanian times, but it was named after Babak Khoramdin, the leader of the fighters with the Abbasid Caliphs in 893 AD.

In recent years, activists regularly attend annual gatherings in this area and talk about their demands.

Every year, during the ceremony, a large number of Iranian Turkish civilians (Azeri) are arrested by security forces on the charges of using propaganda against the regime and acting against national security.

Amnesty International has demanded the unconditional release of all detainees as well as     discharging all the detainees that were temporary released on bail.

Between 16% and 25% of the population of Iran are Turkish Speaking citizens and most of them live in the provinces of East and West Azerbaijan, Ardebil, and Zanjan. Some of these citizens regard the rule of law as discrimination, and the prohibition of teaching non-Persian languages in schools as one of the most prominent cases of discrimination, which has always been the subject of protest by some of the civil activists in these areas.

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