July 31, 2007
Mariwan, Iranian Kurdistan, -- Iran's
judiciary on Tuesday for the first time confirmed
that two Iranian Kurdish journalists have been
sentenced to death for being "enemies of God."
Rights groups had reported that Adnan Hassanpour and
Abdolvahed "Hiwa" Botimar were sentenced to death on
July 16 by a revolutionary court in Mariwan, in
Iran's northeastern Kurdistan province.
"Botimar and Hassanpour have been sentenced to
hanging on the charge of being mohareb," judiciary
spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi told reporters, using a
Koranic legal term that is usually translated as
"enemy of God."
He added he was unable to confirm whether the
sentence had been validated by the supreme court.
Jamshidi did not give further details on their
According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the
two journalists wrote for the magazine Aso
(Horizons), before it was
banned in August 2005.
Adnan Hassanpur (L) and Hiwa Botimar sentenced to death
by the Iranian Islamic regime
Hassanpour published several articles on local
politics and gave interviews to foreign media
including Voice of America while Botimar was also a
member of the environmental NGO Sabzchia, RSF said.
It said that at Hassanpour's closed door trial, he
was found guilty of "activities subverting national
security" and "spying," while his interviews for
Voice of America were also cited by the prosecution.
It said it had no further details on Botimar's
Kurds are believed to form a minority of around
several million people in Iran, most of whom live in
the northwestern West Azarbaijan and Kurdistan
provinces on the border with Turkey and Iraqi
The border area is hugely sensitive, with Iranian
security forces for the past years fighting banned
Kurdish separatist parties, in particular Pejak, a
group linked to Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers'
Official statements often speak of heavy militant
losses as well as deaths on the side of the security
forces. Iran has also repeatedly accused the United
States of seeking to stir up ethnic trouble in the
Iran is bound by treaty with Turkey to fight the PKK.
In return, Turkey has pledged to fight Iran's main
armed opposition group, the Iraq-based People's
Turkey has praised Iran's efforts to crack down on
Kurdish rebels linked to the PKK, who have been
waging a deadly armed struggle for self-rule in the
southeast of Turkey since 1984.
An execution of a journalist is extremely unusual in
Intellectual Hashem Aghajari, who also wrote for
Iranian newspapers, was sentenced to death for
blasphemy after saying in a speech in 2002 that
Muslims were not "monkeys" and "should not blindly
follow" religious leaders.
However the verdict was commuted to five years in
jail in 2004, and he was finally cleared of the
charges in March 2005.
UN Human Rights Council legal experts earlier this
year expressed concern about Iran's use of "mohareb"
charges, saying they were usually levelled against
persons accused of espionage as well as political
Iranian Kurdistan (Kurdish: Kurdistana Īranź or
Kurdistana Rojhilat (Eastern Kurdistan) or Rojhilatź
Kurdistan (East of Kurdistan)) is an unofficial name
for the parts of Iran inhabited by Kurds and has
borders with Iraq and Turkey. It includes the
greater parts of West Azerbaijan province, Kurdistan
Province, Kermanshah Province, and Ilam Province.
Kurds form the majority of the population of this
region with an estimated population of 4 million.
The region is the eastern part of the greater
cultural-geographical area called Kurdistan.
More about Iranian Kurdistan
The present leader of the organisation is Haji
Ahmadi. According to the Washington Times, half the
members of PEJAK are women, many of them still in
their teens, and one of the female members of the
leadership council is Gulistan Dugan, a psychology
graduate from the University of Tehran. This is due
primarily to the fact that PJAK is strongly
supportive of women's rights. PJAK believes that
women must have a strong role in government and must
be on an equal level with men in leadership
More about PEJAK- Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan
The Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran in Kurdish
(Hīzbī Dźmokiratī Kurdistanī Źran) is a Kurdish
opposition group in Iranian Kurdistan which seeks
the attainment of Kurdish national rights within a
democratic federal republic of Iran.
General Secretary of the Democratic Party of Iranian
Kurdistan is Mustafa Hijri
More about KDPI- Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran
** The use of the term "Kurdistan" is vigorously
rejected due to its alleged political implications
by the Republic of Turkey, which does not recognize
the existence of a "Turkish Kurdistan" Southeast
Others estimate over 40 million Kurds live in
Big Kurdistan (Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Iran, Armenia),
which covers an area as big as France, about half of
all Kurds which estimate to 20 million live in
Kurds are not recognized as an official minority in
Turkey and are denied rights granted to other
minority groups. Under EU pressure, Turkey recently
granted Kurds limited rights for broadcasts and
education in the Kurdish language, but critics say
the measures do not go far enough.
Turkey is home to over 25 million ethnic Kurds, some
of whom openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK for a
Kurdish homeland in the country's mainly Kurdish
southeast of Turkey.
Before August 2002, the Turkish government placed
severe restrictions on the use of Kurdish language,
prohibiting the language in education and broadcast
The Kurdish alphabet is still not recognized
in Turkey, and use of the Kurdish letters X, W, Q
which do not exist in the Turkish
alphabet has led to judicial persecution in 2000 and
The Kurdish flag flown officially in Iraqi Kurdistan
but unofficially flown by Kurds in Armenia. The flag
is banned in Iran, Syria, and Turkey where flying it
is a criminal offence"
North Kurdistan ( Kurdistan-Turkey)