Blog Archives

Amnesty International URGENT ACTION  2 KURDISH IRANIAN MAN AT RISK OF EXECUTION

Amnesty International URGENT ACTION

2 KURDISH IRANIAN MAN AT RISK OF EXECUTION

kurdish Prisoners_Hoshmand A_Mohammad O

Dear Friend,

Please find attached and copied below an Urgent Action that Amnesty International issued today on Houshmand Alipour, from Iran’s Kurdish minority, who is at risk of execution after he was sentenced to death on 29 December 2019 following an unfair trial. amnesty-internationalMohammad Ostadghader, also an Iranian Kurd, was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment in the same trial. Both were denied access to lawyers of their own choosing and say they were forced to give “confessions” under torture and other ill-treatment. The urgent action calls on the Iranian authorities to quash their convictions and sentences and grant them a fair retrial in proceedings that meet international fair trial standards and without recourse to the death penalty.

The Urgent Action is available on the Amnesty International website at the following link: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde13/1690/2020/en/

Best wishes,
Iran team
Amnesty International

URGENT ACTION

 KURDISH IRANIAN MAN AT RISK OF EXECUTION

Houshmand Alipour, from Iran’s Kurdish minority, is at risk of execution after he was sentenced to death on 29 December 2019 following an unfair trial. Mohammad Ostadghader, also an Iranian Kurd, was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment in the same trial. Both were denied access to lawyers of their own choosing and say they were forced to give “confessions” under torture and other ill-treatment.

 

TAKE ACTION: WRITE AN APPEAL IN YOUR OWN WORDS OR USE THIS MODEL LETTER

 

Head of the Judiciary Ebrahim Raisi

c/o Permanent Mission of Iran to the UN

Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28

1209 Geneva

Switzerland

Dear Mr Raisi,

 

Houshmand Alipour, from Iran’s Kurdish minority, was sentenced to death on 29 December 2019 following an unfair trial on 31 October 2019, during which the court relied on a false “confession”, which he says was extracted from him under torture and other ill-treatment, to convict him. He was tried before Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court in Sanandaj, Kurdistan province, and was convicted of armed rebellion against the state” (baghi). He was also convicted of several other charges including “spreading propaganda against the system” and “membership of a group with the purpose of disrupting national security”, for which he received a total of 16 years in prison. Mohammad Ostadghader, who faced trial alongside Houshmand Alipour, was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment for multiple charges including “spreading propaganda against the system”. Under Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, he will be required to serve five years in prison.  

 

Houshmand Alipour and Mohammad Ostadghader were arrested on 3 August 2018 by security forces near Saqqez, Kurdistan province, on suspicion of taking part in an armed attack against a security base in that city, which they both deny. Four days after their arrest, on 7 August 2018, Iran’s state news agency, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), broadcast a propaganda video in which the men were shown “confessing” to the attack, undermining their rights not to be compelled to incriminate themselves, to the presumption of innocence and to freedom from degrading treatment. Houshmand Alipour has since said that both men were tortured into making the “confessions” during interrogations when they had no access to a lawyer. He told his family that the only reason he made the “confession” was to stop the torture. He has been allowed only one visit from his family since his arrest. Both men have been denied access to lawyers of their own choosing and were given access to a state-appointed lawyer only after 31 August 2018, when they were transferred from a detention centre in Baneh, Kurdistan province, to one in Sanandaj. They have since been transferred to Sanandaj central prison. Their lawyer has filed an appeal with the Supreme Court against their convictions and sentences.

 

 

I urge you to quash Houshmand Alipour’s and Mohammad Ostadghader’s convictions and sentences and grant them a fair retrial in proceedings that meet international fair trial standards and without recourse to the death penalty. I urge you to provide them access to their families and lawyers of their own choosing and ensure that they are protected from torture and other ill-treatment. I call on you to stop permitting “confessions” obtained under torture and other ill-treatment as evidence in court, to ensure an end to the broadcasting of forced “confessions” and to immediately establish an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.

Yours sincerely,

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

On 7 August 2018, four days after the arrest of Houshmand Alipour and Mohammad Ostadghader, the Ministry of Intelligence claimed it had arrested members of “separatist and Takfiri” groups that had attacked a security base in Saqqez. On 9 August 2018, the Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK), a Kurdish opposition group based in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq that has engaged in armed activities against Iran, issued a statement taking responsibility for the attack. It stated that the men were arrested after they went in to rescue injured PAK members who had taken part in the attack. Houshmand Alipour’s family has said both men are PAK members but are not involved in armed activities against the state in Iran and had entered Iran to engage in political activities such as raising awareness about PAK amongst Iranian Kurds. In addition to Houshmand Alipour’s death sentence for “armed rebellion against the state”, he has been sentenced to one year in prison for “spreading propaganda against the system”, five years in prison for “membership of a group with the purpose of disrupting national security” and 10 years in prison for “carrying weapons”. Mohammad Ostadghader has been sentenced to one year in prison for “spreading propaganda against the system”, five years in prison for “membership of a group with the purpose of disrupting national security” and five years in prison for “carrying weapons”. Under Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, individuals convicted of three or more offences must serve the single harshest sentence.

For years, the Iranian authorities have broadcast “confession” videos on state television in an attempt to justify their actions and gain support from the public. “Confessions” are extracted and “confession” videos are made when detainees are at their most vulnerable – often just after they have been arrested, when they are held incommunicado and subjected to prolonged interrogations under torture and other ill-treatment. Such videos illustrate the extent to which Iran’s intelligence and security forces go to violate the rights of detainees to remain silent during questioning and at trial, to benefit from the presumption of innocence, not to be forced to incriminate themselves and to be free from degrading treatment. Amnesty International’s research has shown that IRIB and other state-controlled media work closely with intelligence and security officials and have been involved in the production and distribution of “confession” videos, thereby sharing responsibility for the human rights violations committed against individuals featured in their productions.

Forced “confessions” that have been broadcast on Iranian state television have been used as evidence in court to convict individuals who were later executed. The most recent example of this is from 8 September 2018 when cousins Zaniar Moradi and Loghman Moradi, from Iran’s Kurdish minority, were executed in Raja’i Shahr prison in the city of Karaj, north-west of Tehran. Zaniar Moradi and Loghman Moradi had been arrested by Ministry of Intelligence officials on 1 August 2009 and 17 October 2009 respectively in the city of Marivan, Kurdistan province, and accused of the murder of the son of a senior cleric which had taken place on 4 July 2009. They were held incommunicado without access to their families or lawyers by the Ministry of Intelligence for the first nine months of their detention. During this time, they said they were forced to “confess” to the murder in front of a video camera after being tortured. Their forced “confessions” were then broadcast on state television in November 2010. In December 2010, after a trial that lasted just 20 minutes, Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran convicted them of “enmity against God” (moharebeh) and murder. Their lawyer maintained that the only evidence against them was their forced “confessions”. Both men had repeatedly denied the accusations against them and had pleaded their innocence.

Broadcasting forced “confessions” extracted through torture is a denial of human dignity for the prisoners and a serious violation of their rights. Under Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Iran is legally obliged to respect and protect the rights of all defendants to the presumption of innocence and not to be compelled to incriminate themselves. Under Article 7 of the ICCPR, as well as rules of customary international law, Iran is obliged to respect and protect the right of accused persons to freedom from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used by the state to kill the prisoner. The organization considers the death penalty a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

PREFERRED LANGUAGE TO ADDRESS TARGET: Persian, English

You can also write in your own language.

PLEASE TAKE ACTION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE UNTIL: 05 March 2020

Please check with the Amnesty office in your country if you wish to send appeals after the deadline.

NAME AND PREFFERED PRONOUN: Houshmand Alipour (he; him); Mohammad Ostadghader (he; him)

LINK TO PREVIOUS UA: https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/MDE1390542018ENGLISH.pdf

Amnesty International-Iran; Bakhtiar Rahimi, from Iran’s Kurdish minority needs immediate medical attention

Amnesty International-Iran; Bakhtiar Rahimi, from Iran’s Kurdish minority needs immediate medical attention

Amnesty Urgent Action

Dear friends,

Please find attached and copied below an Urgent Action that Amnesty International issued today on detained labour rights activist Bakhtiar Rahimi, from Iran’s Kurdish minority, who was arrested on 27 November 2019 in Marivan, Kurdistan province. Bakhtiar Rahimi has serious heart and kidney conditions for which he needs daily medication. The Iranian authorities have denied him access to a lawyer and permitted him only one very brief phone call to his family since his arrest.

Attached to this email, please also find a picture of Bakhtiar Rahimi, the copyright of which is Private, and which you can use.

The Urgent Action is available on the Amnesty International website at the following link:https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde13/1605/2019/en/

Best wishes,
Iran team
Amnesty International

Urgent Action

Detained labor rights activist Bakhtiar Rahimi, from Iran’s Kurdish minority, was arrested on 27 November 2019 in Marivan, Kurdistan province. Bakhtiar Rahimi has serious heart and kidney conditions for which he needs daily medication. The Iranian authorities have denied him access to a lawyer and permitted him only one very brief phone call to his family since his arrest.

1) Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.​

2) Click here to let us know the actions you took on Urgent Action 176.19. It’s important to report because we share the total number with the officials we are trying to persuade and the people we are trying to help.

Prosecutor General of Sanandaj Mohammad Jabbari
c/o Permanent Mission of Iran to the UN
Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28
1209 Geneva, Switzerland

H.E. Majid Takht Ravanchi
Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran
622 Third Avenue, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Phone: 212 687-2020 I Fax: 212 867 7086
Email: iran@un.int
Twitter: @Iran_UN
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Dear Mr. Mohammad Jabbari,

Kurdish labor rights activist Bakhtiar Rahimi, aged 45, was arrested at his place of work in Marivan, Kurdistan province, on 27 November 2019 by security forces, and forcibly disappeared until around 11 December 2019, when he was permitted to make a very brief phone call to his family. During this call, he was able only to say that he was being held in a ministry of intelligence detention facility in Sanandaj, Kurdistan province, before the phone was cut. He has not been able to speak to them again and has been denied contact with a lawyer since his arrest.

Following his arrest, Bakhtiar Rahimi’s family visited the ministry of intelligence office in Marivan multiple times to inquire about his fate and whereabouts, but officials there refused to provide them with any information and threatened them with violence. On one occasion, officials told them they would be shot if they returned. In the weeks following his arrest, a post on a pro-government Telegram channel named Bakhtiar Rahimi among a number of individuals arrested in relation to the nationwide protests that began on 15 November 2019 and alleged that they had ties to Kurdish opposition groups and had “confessed” to harming and killing some of the people in the protests. The Iranian authorities have a track record of attempting to link Kurdish civil society activists to Kurdish opposition groups and of obtaining forced “confessions” under torture or other ill-treatment to convict individuals in unfair trials.

Bakhtiar Rahimi suffers from serious heart and kidney conditions for which he requires daily medication and the regular care and monitoring of a specialist doctor. Earlier this year, Bakhtiar Rahimi suffered a heart attack. He also requires daily medication for high blood pressure.

I call on you to release Bakhtiar Rahimi immediately and unconditionally as he has been arbitrarily detained for exercising his right to freedom of peaceful assembly. Pending this, I ask you to ensure that he is protected from torture and other ill-treatment, provided urgently with any medical care and medication he may require, and given access to his family and a lawyer of his choosing.

Amnesty International calls on the Iranian authorities to release Zahra Mohammadi immediately

Amnesty International calls on the Iranian authorities to release Kurdish civil society activist Zahra Mohammadi immediately

zahra-Mohammadi

 

Dear Friends,

Amnesty Urgent ActionPlease find attached and copied below an urgent action Amnesty International issued today on Kurdish civil society activist Zahra Mohammadi, aged 29, who has been arbitrarily detained since her arrest in Sanandaj, Kurdistan province, Iran, on 23 May 2019.

She is charged with national security offences in relation to her civil society work empowering marginalized members of Iran’s Kurdish minority.

Amnesty International calls on the Iranian authorities to release Zahra Mohammadi immediately and unconditionally as she is a prisoner of conscience detailed solely for her peaceful civil society activism.

The urgent action is available on the Amnesty International website at the following link:https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde13/1390/2019/en/

Best wishes,
Iran team
Amnesty International

URGENT ACTION
 
KURDISH ACTIVIST ARBITRARILY DETAINED
 
Kurdish civil society activist Zahra Mohammadi, aged 29, has been arbitrarily detained since her arrest in Sanandaj, Kurdistan province, Iran, on 23 May 2019. She is charged with national security offences in relation to her civil society work empowering marginalized members of Iran’s Kurdish minority.
 
TAKE ACTION: WRITE AN APPEAL IN YOUR OWN WORDS OR USE THIS MODEL LETTER
 
Prosecutor General of Sanandaj Mohammad Jabbari
c/o Permanent Mission of Iran to the UN
Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28
1209 Geneva, Switzerland
 
Dear Mr Mohmmad Jabbari,
 
Zahra Mohammadi, a Kurdish civil society activist, has been accused of co-operating with Kurdish opposition groups and charged with national security offences for her peaceful activities empowering members of Iran’s marginalized Kurdish community, including through teaching the Kurdish language. On 18 September 2019, without prior notice to her lawyers or family, Zahra Mohammadi was transferred to Branch One of the Revolutionary Court of Sanandaj for a hearing which was subsequently postponed.
 
On 23 May 2019, Zahra Mohammadi was arrested in her home by plain-clothes agents from the Ministry of Intelligence and then held in solitary confinement at an undisclosed location until 31 May, when she was transferred to Sanandaj prison and her family were informed of her whereabouts. During a subsequent family visit, Zahra Mohammadi said that she had been pressured to provide a forced “confession” during those eight days in secret detention. From early June until early July 2019, she had ongoing contact with her family. From 6 July to 16 September 2019, Zahra Mohammadi was held in incommunicado detention and her family was denied all information about her despite multiple attempts to learn what had happened to her. After this period of incommunicado detention ended, Zahra Mohamamdi was able to tell her family that during that time, she was taken to a Ministry of Intelligence facility each day for hours-long interrogation sessions and again put under intense pressure to “confess” that she had been co-operating with Kurdish opposition groups, which she denied. She said that her interrogators threatened to arrest her family members if she did not agree to work for the Ministry of Intelligence and sign a pre-written “confession”. She has met with her lawyers just once, nearly four months after her arrest, and after the second round of interrogations during incommunicado detention ended. 
 
Zahra Mohammadi is in poor health. She currently has a stomach-related illness. She also has a pre-existing digestive condition that requires medication, which she has been unable to take in prison.
 
I urge you to release Zahra Mohammadi immediately and unconditionally as she is a prisoner of conscience detailed solely for her peaceful civil society activism. Pending her release, please ensure that she is protected from torture and other ill-treatment and can receive regular visits from her lawyer and family, as well as adequate medical care, including any specialized treatment she may need. 
 
Yours sincerely,
 
 
 
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
 
On 18 September 2019, without any prior notice to her lawyers, Zahra Mohammadi was transferred to Branch One of the Revolutionary Court of Sanandaj. Her lawyer and family were alerted that she was in court, and promptly arrived to protest the hearing taking place without prior notice. Her court session was subsequently postponed to a later date, though no further hearings have taken place since and the court has sent the case back to the office of the prosecutor for further investigations. She has met with her lawyers just once, nearly four months after her arrest, and after the second round of interrogations during incommunicado detention ended on 16 September. 
During the period she was held in incommunicado detention and subjected to interrogations for over two months without access to a lawyer, Zahra Mohammadi’s family made numerous attempts with different government offices in Sanandaj to learn what had happened to her. During one visit to the Ministry of Intelligence office, her family was permitted to speak over the phone with Zahra Mohammadi’s interrogator. According to information received by Amnesty International, the interrogator told her family that Zahra Mohammadi was being denied contact with her family to put her under greater pressure to sign documents and agree to work for the ministry of intelligence and that, once she had done so, she would again be able to see her family.
 
Since being held in incommunicado detention, Zahra Mohammadi has experienced a stomach-related illness for which the prison doctor prescribed medication, but she has said that the medication makes her nauseous and that her illness continues. She also has a pre-existing digestive condition which requires a special diet and medication. Since detention, she has neither been able to follow the special diet nor take her medication. Her family has requested she be transferred to hospital for examinations, but no response has been given to them.
 
Zahra Mohmmmadi is the director of the Nojin Cultural Association, whose activities include teaching the Kurdish language and literature and other civil society activities. Prior to her 23 May 2019 arrest, Zahra Mohammadi had been subjected to several lengthy interrogations by the ministry of intelligence. The last took place on 8 March 2019, when she was interrogated for eight hours without the presence of a lawyer. 
 
Ethnic minorities in Iran, including Ahwazi Arabs, Azerbaijani Turks, Baluchis, Kurds and Turkmen, face entrenched discrimination, curtailing their access to education, employment and adequate housing. Continued economic neglect of regions with large minority populations has exacerbated poverty and marginalization. The Persian language is the sole medium of instruction in primary and secondary education in Iran. 
 
PREFERRED LANGUAGE TO ADDRESS TARGET: Persian, English
You can also write in your own language.
 
PLEASE TAKE ACTION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE UNTIL: 25 December 2019.
Please check with the Amnesty office in your country if you wish to send appeals after the deadline.
 
NAME AND PREFERRED PRONOUN: Zahra Mohammadi (she/her)
%d bloggers like this: