Complaint 2 – Yusif Kari ; Date 17 January 2021
Dear Prof. Rehman,
Mr. Yusif Kari (یوسف کاری) resorted to a hunger strike on 14 January 2021 as a last resort to defend his human dignity and human rights against the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which have imprisoned him. The case background for his imprisonment is detailed below and in our Complaint 1 and in the documents we have submitted for your attention as referenced above.
Mr. Kari is a renowned cultural activist and recently proved his altruistic capacity when he became a source of information on COVID-19 outbreak in Ardabil prison.
On 14 January 2021, Mr. Kari was called to the office of the prison supervisor in relation to his application for a temporary release due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Instead of discussing Mr. Kari’s entitlement, the supervisor, Mr. Sepehri,:
• subjected Mr. Kari to verbal abuses
• transferred him to Section 8 from Section 1 (was originally in Section 7 but transferred from here due to releasing the news on COVID-19 outbreaks)
• the prison supervisor had said that he does not “recognise the rights of these prisoners,” i.e. the rights of Azerbaijani cultural activists.
He then resorted to a wet hunger strike and released the information through his prison associates that should he not be transferred again to the previous section by 17 January 2021, he will resort to a dry hunger strike afterwards.
Our latest information is that the prison authorities have not responded to his condition and therefore he is likely to resort to a dry hunger strike from today. The justice for Mr. Kari is now in your hands, as the Iranian authorities trigger happy to undermine his dignity and his human rights. Evidently without any pressure from your office, the authorities will subject Mr. Kari to ill-treatments. We thank you in advance for your campaign and care.
General Background: The background for this case is given in our Communication 1 (ArcDH/2018/050) on 4 July 2018 and its update , which is related to (ArcDH/2018/050.1) on 12 July 2018, where the name of Mr. Kari is the 80th person in the list of the individuals who were prosecuted in the occasion of the Annual Assembly at Babek Castle, near Keleyber, in West Azerbaijan, in July 2018.
Arrest: (i) The victim was arrested on 8 July 2018 at Babek Castle, near Keleyber, West Azerbaijan; he was released under bail after few days. (ii) He was further arrested together with 40 other activists when taking part in a mountaineering expedition to Mount Savalan on 10 August 2018; they were subjected to physical violence and taken to a detention facility in Lari, a nearby town and were released after 24 hours under bail. (iii) Was again arrested on 3 September 2019 by plainclothes agents in Shariaty Square in Ardabil. He was then taken to the detention centre in Ardabil prison on 10 September 2019.
Detention: The first two detentions were of a short duration but the long detention was the third one, when he was arrested on 3 September 2019; and was transferred to central prison in Ardabil on 8 September 2019. He was kept in prison until 07 December 2019 and the justice authorities prevented his temporary release several times.
Accusations: Initially the arbitrary accusation was: “Propaganda against the system.” After the third arrest, the accusations became: “Propaganda activities against the system in distributing leaflets” and “membership of groups of so called cultural-ethnic groups and participating in their meetings with the intention of disturbing the security.”
Summon: He was summoned for a trial on 7 December 2019
Court (10 December 2018): Tried in Branch 1 Revolutionary Court in Ardabil, headed by Judge Mahdavi Rad. Two maximum sentences of: (i) 5 years on the ground of membership of G.A.M.A.C [South Azerbaijani Front for Democracy] as per Article 499 and 500 of the Islamic Penal Code; and (ii) one year for “Propaganda against the system” as per Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code. The sentences were sent to Mr. Kari on 17 December 2019. Mr. Kari rejects the accusations.
Imprisonment (3 September 2019): Was arrested by plainclothes security agents.
Appeal Court (31 March 2020): The sentence was reduced to 2 years of ta’ziri imprisonment.
Released News on Mr. Lisani related to COVID-19 in Ardabil prison: He informed his relative on a telephone call of being displaying symptoms of COVID-19. He also acted as a source of information on Mr. Lisani.
Transfer (14 December 2020): He was transferred from Section 7 of Ardabil prison to Section 1, possibly due to his altruistic act of releasing the news on COVID-19 infections in Ardabil prison and that by Mr. Lisani.
Hunger Strike (14 January 2021): Resorted to a hunger strike as the last resort to defend his dignity and his human rights.