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Azeri Activist Arrested In Iran

Vedud Asadi
An activist for the cultural and language rights of ethnic Azeris in Iran, Vedud Asadi, has reportedly been arrested in the Iranian city of Rasht. He was married two weeks ago, and his family believes that he was arrested because of the nature of his wedding celebration.

Asadi's wife, Zahra Purasad, told RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service that her husband "was arrested for standing up for his national rights." According to Asadi's sister, no official reason has been given for his arrest. But she says that the police "first asked for the wedding party recording. So I assume they arrested Vedud for having a national party. We had no Persian songs in the wedding. There was a flag of the Republic of Azerbaijan on the cake and speeches about our ethnic and cultural rights."

Asadi was previously arrested after he participated in demonstrations in May 2006 at Ardebil University in northwestern Iran following a cartoon published by the official "Iran" newspaper depicting ethnic Azeris as cockroaches. He spent 3 1/2 months in prison without being charged.

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