Prisoner of conscience Sa’id Metinpour, an Azerbaijani rights activist, is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence for his peaceful advocacy of the rights of the Azerbaijani minority.
Sa’id Metinpour is a journalist, a graduate of philosophy at Tehran University. He is an advocate of linguistic and cultural rights for Iranians of Azerbaijani ethnicity, including their right to be educated in the Azerbaijani Turkic language.
Sa’id Metinpour was detained a first time in February 2007 and held for 10 days in connection with his participation in peaceful demonstration marking International Mother Language Day, an annual event initiated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on 21 February.
On 25 May 2007 he was arrested in the city of Zanjan, north western Iran, and held, mainly in solitary confinement for over 9 months, in Section 209 of Evin prison in Tehran, which is run by the Ministry of Intelligence. He was tortured and now suffers from severe back pain and has been diagnosed with a lung infection and heart problem and needs medical care.
At the beginning of June 2008 during a court session held behind closed doors of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced Sa’id Metinpour to eight year’s imprisonment. In December of 2008, the appeals court upheld his sentence. Sa’id Metinpour is serving his prison sentence in Evin, Tehran.