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 Amnesty: Iran urged to free Kurdish prisoner of conscience on hunger strike 

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Amnesty: Iran urged to free Kurdish prisoner of conscience on hunger strike  12.7.2012   
Amnesty International via Ekurd.net







 
Jailed Iranian Kurdish human rights activist Mohammad Sadiq Kaboudvand, currently in Iranian prison serving an 11-year sentence. Kabudvand is being held in Tehran’s Evin Prison. Photo: Ehsan Iran/Amnesty/Ekurd.net   See Related Links
July 12, 2012

LONDON,— The Iranian authorities must release a journalist and prisoner of conscience who has been on hunger strike since 26 May in protest at being denied permission to visit his sick son, Amnesty International said.

Mohammad Sadiq Kaboudvand, a former newspaper editor and founder of the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan, is nearly half-way through a 10-and-a-half-year prison sentence after having been convicted of charges relating to his journalism and human rights work.

He is being held in Tehran’s Evin Prison.

"It appears that the authorities are denying Mohammad Sadiq Kaboudvand the possibility to visit his ailing son in an attempt to pressure him into stopping his ongoing activism from inside prison by way of open letters to officials," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

"Mohammad Sadiq Kaboudvand should not be in prison in the first place, as he is being held solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and because of his journalist and human rights work. He should be released immediately and unconditionally."

“Further tormenting a father by denying him the right to visit his ailing son is another testament of the cruelty of the Iranian authorities”.

Mohammad Sadiq Kaboudvand’s son Pejman has been ill since January 2012 with an undiagnosed condition. He has been allowed only one two-and-a-half hour hospital visit with his son in February 2012.

Prison leave in Iran for family visits of this kind is permitted under the Prison Regulations, and is usually granted.

In an open letter from 27 May 2012, Mohammad Sadiq Kaboudvand wrote:

“The Prosecutor and the security apparatuses continue to deny [prison] leave because of their enmity, grudge and malice towards me as a human rights activist; this despite my having served half of my illegal and unjust prison sentence and my son’s incurable diseases and acute emergency situation... Therefore, to protest the illegal and inhumane behaviour of these judicial and security officials, I launch an indefinite hunger strike as of 9 PM, Saturday 26 May 2012”.

Mohammad Sadiq Kaboudvand’s health has also deteriorated as a result of his prolonged hunger strike. The official medical personnel and doctors have recommended he be transferred to a hospital for appropriate care.

Mohammad Sadiq Kaboudvand refused to be transferred as he was to be handcuffed, and he was concerned that he would be forcibly fed, including intravenously, in hospital.

He is now receiving daily injections from the prison doctors to support his weakened kidneys.

As well as his work with the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan (HROK), Mohammad Sadiq Kaboudvand was editor of weekly newspaper Payam-e Mardom-e Kordestan, which carried articles promoting the cultural, social and political rights of Iran's Kurdish minority.

Payam-e Mardom-e Kordestan was issued with a three-year ban by Iran’s judiciary on 27 June 2004 for “disseminating separatist ideas and publishing false reports”. On appeal to the Supreme Court, this ban was lifted, though the newspaper has not re-opened since.

In July 2009, Mohammad Sadiq Kaboudvand appeared before Branch One of the Revolutionary Court in Mahabad,www.ekurd.net north-east Iran, on the charge of “propaganda against the system” for the publication and distribution of pamphlets about Kurdish women.

Mohammad Sadiq Kaboudvand reportedly told the court that “the materials printed in the pamphlet referred to in the indictment have no resemblance to the literature published by HROK. The materials brought out by HROK have the logo and the address of the organization and we can only be responsible for the materials published on the website of the organization.”

No verdict is known to have been issued in this trial.

URGENT ACTION

JAILED JOURNALIST ON HUNGER STRIKE

Journalist Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand has been on hunger strike since 26 May 2012 in Tehran’s Evin Prison in protest at the Iranian authorities denial of his repeated requests to visit his gravely-ill son. Mohammad Saqid Kabudvand is a prison of conscience.

Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand’s son Pejman has been ill since January 2012 with an undiagnosed condition that is apparently affecting his kidneys and blocking veins in his legs. Since learning of his son’s illness, Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand has been allowed to visit him in hospital only once, for two-and-a-half hours, in February 2012.. Prison leave for family visits of this kind is permitted under Iran's Prison Regulations, and is usually granted. Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand may have been denied such permission to visit his son to pressure him to stop the activism he has continued from inside prison through open letters to officials.

Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand’s own health has deteriorated as a result of his hunger strike. The prison medical official and doctors have recommended he be transferred to a hospital for appropriate care. Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand refused to be transferred, as he was to be handcuffed, and was concerned that he would be forcibly fed, intravenously or otherwise, in hospital. He is now receiving daily injections from the prison doctors that are supposed to support his weakened kidneys.

Mohammad Saqid Kabudvand, who founded the NGO Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan, was arrested on 1 July 2007 and is serving a 10-and-a-half year prison sentence arising from his journalism and human rights work.

Please write immediately in Persian, Arabic, English or your own language:
* Calling on the Iranian authorities to release Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand immediately and unconditionally, as he is a prisoner of conscience, held solely for the peaceful exercise of his rights to freedom of expression and association in his journalism and human rights work;
* Calling on them to ensure that Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand receives any medical attention he may require, including treatment at a medical facility outside the prison, as recommended by the doctors of Evin Prison;
* Calling on them to allow him prison leave to visit his ailing son as stipulated in the Prison Regulations..

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 22 AUGUST 2012 TO:

Leader of the Islamic Republic
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street – End of Shahid
Keshvar Doust Street,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: info_leader@leader.ir
Twitter: @khamenei_ir #Iran must release #Kabudvand now
Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani
[Care of] Public Relations Office
Number 4, 2 Azizi Street intersection
Tehran,
Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: bia.judi@yahoo.com (Subject
Line: FAO Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani)
Salutation: Your Excellency

And copies to:
Secretary General High Council for Human Rights
Mohammed Javad Larijani
c/o Office of the Head of the Judicary
Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave
South of Serah-e Jomhouri
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: info@humanrights-iran.ir
(Subject line: FAO Mohammad Javad Larijani
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:
Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

URGENT ACTION

JAILED JOURNALIST ON HUNGER STRIKE

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

In an open letter dated 27 May 2012, Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand wrote “the Prosecutor and the security apparatuses continue to deny me [prison] leave because of their enmity, grudge and malice towards me as a human rights activist; this despite my having served half of my illegal and unjust prison sentence and my son’s incurable diseases and acute emergency situation . . therefore, to protest the illegal and inhumane behaviour of these judicial and security officials, I once again have launched an indefinite hunger strike as of 9 PM, Saturday 26 May 2012”.

Following his arrest on 1 July 2007, Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand was initially held in Section 209 of Evin Prison, believd to be under the control of the Ministry of Intelligence. He spent 40 days in solitary confinement, and has said that he was interrogated while he was blindfolded and his hands and feet were bound. He went on an eight-day hunger strike in protest at the conditions under which he was held and interrogated, during which time prison authorities told him that if he needed to use the toilet, he had to seek formal permission in writing. This exacerbated an existing kidney complaint.

Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand passed out for about 30 minutes on 19 May 2008. He was given first aid by another prisoner who is a doctor. His fellow prisoners called for help and asked guards to take him to the prison clinic, but they left him in his cell. The following day, he was forced to attend a scheduled trial session. Though the session was cancelled when a representative from the Prosecutor’s Office failed to appear, the trial judge ordered that Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand should receive appropriate medical care in a hospital outside Evin Prison. Despite this, Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand was not allowed to seek treatment in a hospital but instead received medical attention at the prison’s medical facility.

Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand was transferred to hospital outside Evin Prison on 9 January 2012. According to his wife, Parinaz Baghbani Hassani, during a prison visit on or about 30 December 2011, Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand said he had been feeling dizzy. She told Amnesty International that he had phoned her on 10 January to say that he had been taken to hospital for medical tests the previous day. These included a prostate examination, blood tests and cardiovascular tests. Based on the results of the medical examinations, doctors had recommended admitting Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand to the hospital and performing surgery on his prostate gland. Instead he was taken back to Evin Prison. It is not clear whether he received the medical care he needed.

Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand, a member of Iran’s Kurdish minority, is the founder and Chair of the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan (HROK, sometimes known as RMMK from its Kurdish name). Until 2004, he was also the editor of a weekly newspaper, Payam-e Mardom-e Kordestan, which carried articles promoting the cultural, social and political rights of Iran's Kurdish minority. Payam-e Mardom-e Kordestan was issued with a three-year ban by Iran’s judiciary on 27 June 2004 for “disseminating separatist ideas and publishing false reports”. On appeal to the Supreme Court, this ban was lifted, though the newspaper has not reopened.

Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand was transferred to Mahabad prison, in West Azerbaijan Province, north-west Iran on 16 July 2009. Three days later, he appeared before Branch One of the Revolutionary Court in the north-eastern city of Mahabad, charged with “propaganda against the system” for the publication and distribution of pamphlets about Kurdish women. Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand reportedly told the court that “the materials printed in the pamphlet referred to in the indictment have no resemblance to the literature published by HROK. The materials brought out by HROK have the logo and the address of the organization and we can only be responsible for the materials published on the website of the organization.” No verdict is known to have been issued in this trial.

He was previously the subject of UA 171/07 (MDE 13/081/2007) and follow-ups.

Name: Mohammad Sadqiq Kabudvand
Gender m/f: m

UA: 204/12 Index: MDE 13/046/2012 Issue Date: 11 July 2012

Copyright ©, respective author or news agency, amnesty.org

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