#3 to RAN 11/07
Death sentence against Iranian
Kurdish journalist Adnan Hassanpour upheld by Supreme Court.
Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN is alarmed by reports
that the death sentence handed down to Iranian Kurdish journalist,
writer and human rights activist Adnan Hassanpour on 16 July 2007 has
been upheld by the Supreme Court. International PEN considers Hassanpour
to be detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to free
expression, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release in
accordance with Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant
of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Iran is a signatory.
who was arrested on 25 January 2007, is believed to have been convicted
of being a mohareb (‘enemy
of God’) and ‘acting against national security’, apparently for
expressing his views on Kurdish issues. His sentence was reportedly
upheld by the Supreme Court on 22 October 2007, but his lawyer was not
notified until 5 November 2007. Hassanpour now plans to appeal the
sentence, a process which is expected to take some considerable time.
to PEN’s information, Adnan Hassanpour, journalist and advocate of
cultural rights for Iranian Kurds, was detained on 25 January 2007 in
Marivan, a small city in the north western province of Kurdistan. He was
reportedly held incommunicado without charge in a Ministry of
Intelligence facility in Marivan, and transferred to Marivan prison on
26 March 2007. He appeared before the Islamic Revolutionary Court in
Sanandaj on 12 June 2007, in the presence of his lawyer.
Adnan Hassanpour was reportedly taken from Marivan prison to an
unconfirmed place of detention, possibly the detention facility run by
the Ministry of Intelligence in Sanandaj, the capital of Kurdistan
province, early in the morning of 15 July 2007. On 16 July 2007 he was
told that he had been sentenced to death on charges of espionage and Moharebeh
(being at enmity with God).
April 2007, the Mehr News Agency, which is said to have close links with
Iran’s judiciary, apparently alleged that Adnan Hassanpour had been in
contact with Kurdish opposition groups and had helped two people from
Khuzestan province, who were wanted by the authorities, to flee from
Iran. However, in an interview carried by the online publication Rooz,
Hassanpour's lawyer, Saleh Nikbakht, said that the charges related to a
phone conversation he had with a staff member of Radio Voice of America
Hassanpour is a former member of the editorial board of the
Kurdish-Persian weekly journal, Aso
(Horizon), which was closed
by the Iranian authorities in August 2005 following widespread unrest
in Kurdish areas. He had previously been tried in connection with
articles published in the journal. He is a member of the Kurdish
Writer’s Association. Hassanpour’s cousin, environmentalist
Abdolwahed (known as Hiwa) Butimar, was also tried with Hassanpour and
handed down the death penalty. His sentence was reportedly over-turned
by the Supreme Court because of ‘procedural irregularities’. Saleh
Nikbakht, one of the lawyers representing the two journalists, was
notified on 5 November of the court's decision although he was not
given the details of the ruling. He said Hassanpour had been found
guilty of "espionage" because he had allegedly
"revealed the location of military sites and established contacts
with the US foreign affairs ministry." Hassanpour is planning to
appeal the sentence.
PEN is deeply concerned about an apparent pattern of repression
against journalists and human rights activists in Iranian Kurdistan,
which has been ongoing since unrest
broke out in the Kurdish areas of Iran in July 2005, and was violently
suppressed by the authorities. Several other
Iranian-Kurdish journalists are currently detained, including Kaveh
Javanmard, Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand
and Ejlal Qavami (see previous alerts).
dismay at the death sentence handed down to journalist Adnan Hassanpour,
and fears that he is being held in violation of Article 19 of the United
Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
concerns at reports that he has been ill treated in detention, and
seeking reassurances from the Iranian authorities that Adnan
Hassanpour’s wellbeing is guaranteed.
concern about an apparent crackdown on Iranian-Kurdish journalists and
writers, and calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all
journalists and writers detained in Iranian Kurdistan solely for the
peaceful expression of their views.
Leader of the Islamic Republic
Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei,
Office of the Supreme Leader
Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
of the Judiciary
Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
of Justice, Park-e Shahr,
Islamic Republic of Iran
via Judiciary website: Iranjudiciary.org/feedback_en.html
Hossein Mohseni Ejeie
Republic of Iran.
Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Islamic Republic of Iran
Via Foreign Ministry: +98 21 6 674 790
"Please forward to H.E. President Ahmadinejad")
possible please send a copy of your appeal to the diplomatic
representative for Iran in your country.
- For further information please
contact Cathy McCann at International PEN Writers in Prison Committee,
Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20
7405 0338, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339, email: