RAPID ACTION NETWORK
13 November 2007
 
Update #3 to RAN 11/07
 
IRAN: Death sentence against Iranian Kurdish journalist Adnan Hassanpour upheld by Supreme Court.
 
The 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.
 
Hassanpour, 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.
 
According 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).
 
In 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 (see: http://www.roozonline.com/english/archives/2007/07/006302.php).

Adnan 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.
 
International 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).
 
RECOMMENDED ACTION
 
Please send appeals:
·         Expressing 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.
·         Expressing 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.
·         Expressing 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.
 
APPEALS TO:
 
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei,
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email:  info@leader.ir or istiftaa@wilayah.org
 
Head of the Judiciary
His Excellency
Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email:   via Judiciary website: Iranjudiciary.org/feedback_en.html
Salutation:       Your Excellency
 
Minister of Intelligence
Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie
Ministry of Intelligence,
Second Negarestan Street,
Pasdaran Avenue,
Tehran
Islamic Republic of Iran.
Email: iranprobe@iranprobe.com
 
COPIES TO:
President:
His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency,
Palestine Avenue,
Azerbaijan Intersection,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax:              Via Foreign Ministry: +98 21 6 674 790
(mark: "Please forward to H.E. President Ahmadinejad")
Email:   dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir
via website: www.president.ir/email
 
If 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: cathy.mccann@internationalpen.org.uk
 
 
 

 

 

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