Wednesday, April 22, 2009

IPI Calls for Release of Journalists Being Used as ‘Political Hostages’ in Iran, North Korea

20 April 2009

Iran and North Korea should immediately free journalists who are being used as apparent political hostages in their wider diplomatic disputes with the United States, the International Press Institute said today.

The sentencing of an Iranian-American radio reporter on espionage charges last week and the continued detention of two American journalists who were seized in North Korea in March further erode chances for diplomatic settlements over the nations’ nuclear ambitions and only augment their reputations as leading suppressers of free speech.

"It is beyond contempt that these journalists are being held hostage to the fortunes of political brinkmanship by countries who share an outdated belief that this is the best way to conduct negotiations on difficult international subjects", IPI Director David Dadge said. "Journalists are neutral observers who gather information. Accusing them of being spies is just another desperate way for authoritarian rulers to smother the truth and delude their populations".

On 18 April, an Iranian court sentenced Roxana Saberi to eight years in prison for espionage after a one-day, secret trial. The US-born reporter was arrested in February, allegedly for buying wine. Saberi, a free-lance journalist, has filed reports on Iran for public broadcasters in Britain and the United States and also worked for the Fox News channel in the United States.

The two journalists detained for entering North Korea from across the Chinese border have been identified as Euna Lee and Laura Ling of US-based Current TV. They were captured on 17 March while apparently preparing a report on the rising number of North Koreans who are seeking refuge in China. Leaders in Pyongyang have been silent on the detention of the women since their capture.

The sentencing of Saberi comes after years of tensions between Tehran and Washington over Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s push to develop a nuclear energy industry that the United States, Europe and Israel contend is a mask for building atomic weapons. Since President Barack Obama took office in January, he has reversed his predecessor’s policy of shunning talks with Tehran, but the Iranian government has so far shown little interest in making concessions on the nuclear issue.

IPI’s Justice Denied Campaign has also condemned the Ahmadinejad government’s handling of Abdolvahed Botimar, a journalist and environmental activist, and his cousin, editor and journalist Adnan Hassanpour, who were tried in secret and accused of being "enemies of God". Both men were sentenced to death, but in September 2008, a court of appeal overturned the death sentence against Hassanpour. He was then charged with espionage.

North Korea, meanwhile, has intensified its isolation by launching a missile over Japan and expelling international experts who were sent to monitor the country’s nuclear experiments. According to IPI’s World Press Freedom Review 2008, North Korea has the worst press freedom record in the world, with the country’s repressive dictatorship retaining complete control of the media while maintaining a blanket ban on foreign journalists.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hiwa Butimar has had his death sentence overturned by an Iranian court.

Andy Stovell: This is a day of Good News!

Two hours ago I received the news that Hiwa Butimar has had his death sentence overturned by an Iranian court.
Hadi Butimar, Hiwa's brother, phoned me after talking with his sister-in-law, Hiwa's wife.

Hadi is in the process of putting together a thank you to all the countless people who have helped in so many ways.

Hiwa goes before another court soon to decide if he is to be released or serve a further prison sentence for the false charges. We will keep you informed. Meanwhile, join in the great joy we all feel for Hiwa and his family.

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Friday, January 9, 2009

Iran: End Repression in Kurdish Areas

Peaceful Dissidents Jailed, Books and Publications Banned

(New York, January 9, 2009) - The government of Iran should amend or abolish broadly worded national security laws used to stifle peaceful dissent in the country's Kurdish areas and end arbitrary arrests of Kurdish critics and dissidents, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The 42-page report, "Iran: Freedom of Expression and Association in the Kurdish Regions," documents how Iranian authorities use security laws, press laws, and other legislation to arrest and prosecute Iranian Kurds solely for trying to exercise their right to freedom of expression and association. The use of these laws to suppress basic rights, while not new, has greatly intensified since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power in August 2005.

"Iranian authorities show little tolerance of political dissent anywhere in the country, but they are particularly hostile to dissent in minority areas where there has been any history of separatist activities," said Joe Stork, deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa Division.

Kurds account for 4.5 million of the 69 million people in Iran, and live mainly in the country's northwest regions. Political movements there have frequently campaigned for greater regional autonomy. The main Iranian Kurdish parties with a long history of activism deny that they engage in armed activity and the government has not accused these groups of any such activity since the early 1990s.

"No one would contest a government's right to suppress violence," Stork said. "But this is not the case here. What is going on in the Kurdish areas of Iran is the routine suppression of legitimate peaceful opposition."

The new report documents how the government has closed Persian- and Kurdish-language newspapers and journals, banned books, and punished publishers, journalists, and writers for opposing and criticizing government policies. Authorities also suppress legitimate activities of nongovernmental organizations by denying registration permits or charging individuals working with such organizations with spurious security offenses.

One victim of the government's repression is Farazad Kamangar, a superintendent of high schools in the city of Kamayaran and an activist with the Organization for the Defense of Human Rights in Kurdistan. He has been in detention since his arrest in July 2006. The new report reproduces a letter Kamangar smuggled out of prison describing how officials subjected him to torture during interrogation.

On February 25, 2008, Branch 30 of Iran's Revolutionary Court sentenced him to death on charges of "endangering national security." Prosecutors charged that he was a member of the Turkey-based Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), but provided no evidence to support the allegation. In July, the Supreme Court upheld the sentence. Kamangar's lawyer has appealed to the head of the judiciary to intervene, the only remaining option for challenging the sentence.

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Friday, September 12, 2008, Thursday September 11 2008: Tehran targets journalists

The Iranian authorities are cracking down on media freedom, especially reporters who dare to cover the persecution of ethnic minorities

Peter Tatchell,, Thursday September 11 2008 20:00 BST
Article history
The escalating persecution of journalists in Iran is symptomatic of the regime's fundamental weakness, despite its macho posturing and tyrannical repression.

President Ahmadinejad and his clerical cronies are afraid. They have concluded that censorship of the media is necessary to save their ugly regime. They are also prepared to jail and, in some cases, execute reporters who dare to tell the truth about their tyranny.

In one sense, Ahmadinejad is right. The truth is dangerous. If Iranians knew about the massive scale of human rights abuses by their government it would arouse huge popular discontent.

For this reason, Tehran is determined to keep people in the dark. It dare not allow the open flow of news and information. Such openness would reveal the full extent of its savage misrule, including the torture of students, arrest of trade union leaders, beating of peaceful protesters and suppression of women's rights campaigners.

Much of Ahmadinejad's most brutal suppression is heaped on the country's minority nationalities, such as the Arabs, Balochs and Kurds. Most Iranians would be aghast if they knew about the barbarism of Tehran's ethnic persecution. Knowing the facts could spark an uprising. That's why Ahmadinejad is clamping down.

Six of the seven journalists currently in prison in Iran are of Kurdish or Arab origin. The latest reporter to fall foul of Tehran's information management and repression is the leading Ahwazi Arab journalist Yousef Azizi Bani Torouf. According to Iran Human Rights Voice and Reporters Without Borders, he was sentenced to five years imprisonment on charges of "acting against national security", "incitement to rebellion" and "relations with foreign officials". These charges relate to his condemnation of the extreme, often indiscriminate, state violence used to crush the mass protests of the anti-government Ahwazi intifada of April 2005.

Azizi's lawyer, Saleh Nickbakht states that his trial was unfair and that "the alleged charge against him is incompatible with the facts and reality."

Azizi is a highly acclaimed writer and has had numerous books published in both Arabic and Farsi, with a particular focus on the Arab peoples of Iran's south-west province of Khuzestan (known by the Arabs as al-Ahwaz). He is a board member of the Iranian Writers Association.

Some hardliners within the Tehran regime have falsely accused him of supporting independence for the Arab population, who comprise a majority in Khuzestan. Azizi has, in fact, repeatedly stated that the "Arabs of Khuzestan, as a nation or an ethnic group (or whatever you like to call it), are inseparable parts of the Iranian nation."

Azizi was originally arrested on April 25 2005, 10 days after the mass demonstrations that swept Khuzestan in protest against Tehran's quasi-colonialist impoverishment and ill-treatment of the Arab population, which I helped expose in an article for Labour's leftwing weekly Tribune magazine.

He was, at the time of this intifada, living in Tehran. His arrest came after he had spoken out against the regime's brutal suppression of the protests at a press conference attended by lawyer and human rights defender Shirin Ebadi.

Iranian police and soldiers had shot dead scores of unarmed Ahwazi Arab civilians. Azizi called for a halt to the bloodshed. Other prominent Arabs, including former Majlis member Jasem Tamimi Shadidzadeh, also condemned the state violence against Arab protesters.
After spending 65 days in the notorious Evin prison, during time which he staged a hunger strike with other inmates, Azizi was temporarily released on a 1bn rial bail.

President Ahmadinejad's regime has now decided to imprison him, amid a general clampdown on journalists and media that don't toe the strict pro-government line. This clampdown has led to the temporary closure of even some of the conservative media, including the Baztab website and the semi-official Fars News Agency. They were accused by the state censors of publishing material that was supposedly critical of President Ahmadinejad.

Although Azizi has been sentenced to only five years imprisonment, his life is in danger. Other journalists have found that once convicted, they are often subsequently charged with further crimes, until the regime can ensure that they either are jailed for life or executed.
One notable example of this tactic was Yaghub Mehrnahad, a 28-year-old journalist, human rights and cultural activist from Iran's oppressed Baloch minority. His crime? Criticising the Persian supremacist regime's mistreatment of the Baloch ethnic group.

Mehrnahad was the founder of the Sedaye Edalat (Voice of Justice) non-governmental organisation, which was recognised and registered by the Iranian government. It organised events such as music concerts and educational courses for young Balochs. However, Ahmadinejad's men claimed Mehrnahad had links with the Baloch resistance group, Jundullah (Army of God).

Amnesty International was one of the many human rights organisations urging clemency and appealing for Mr Mehrnahad's release. Their pleas were ignored. He was subjected to escalating charges and months of torture. Eventually, he was sentenced to death and executed last month.

There are fears that Azizi is likely to share the same fate as Mehrnahad, unless his sentence and conviction are quashed.

A similar case is the imprisonment of Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand, Kurdish journalist on June 22 this year, on charges of "acting against national security." This charge was in response to his Kurdish rights writing and activism. He is
chair of the Kurdish Human Rights Organization (RMMK) and was also the editor of Payam-e Mardom-e Kurdestan (Kurdistan People's Message), a weekly published in Kurdish and Persian, which was banned on June 27 2004 after only 13 issues for "disseminating separatist ideas and publishing false reports." He was originally given an 18 month suspended sentence but, following months of torture in Section 209 of Evin Prison, this sentence has been progressively lengthened to 11 years jail. Kabudvand's life is now also in danger. There are fears that he, too, will soon face capital charges.

Several other Iranian-Kurdish journalists are currently detained, including Kaveh Javanmard, Adnan Hassanpour, Abdulvahed Butimar and Ejlal Qavami.

Adnan Hassanpour was sentenced to death last year at a secret revolutionary court hearing, which was a travesty of justice, according to human rights defenders. He is a journalist and former editor of the now-defunct Kurdish-Persian weekly "Aso" in Iran's north-western province of Kurdistan. In a rare victory for justice, his death sentence was overturned. But now he is being retried on the capital charges of espionage and working with outlawed parties.

In Ahmadinejad's paranoid mindset, even green campaigners and writers are now deemed a threat to national security. The Iranian-Kurdish environmental activist and journalist, Abdulvahed Butimar, was convicted and sentenced to death at the same time as Hassanpour. His sentence, like Hassanpour's, related to a charge of taking up arms against the Iranian state. Despite a flawed and biased trial, Butimar remains on death row, awaiting execution.

You can help save Iran's jailed journalists. Email your appeals for their release to:

The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, His Eminence Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei: and and

The Honourable Chief Justice, His Eminence Ayatollah Seyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi: and

Iranian President, His Excellency Dr Mahmood Ahmadinejad:

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Iran: Political prisoners continue their hunger strike

AKI: "Tehran, 8 Sept. (AKI) - Fifty-four political prisoners are continuing their two-week long hunger strike in five different prisons across the country.

The prisoners are demanding the abolition of the death penalty for so-called intellectual and political crimes, and trials in open court, attended by defendants and their lawyers.

Four of the prisoners have been sentenced to death, and most are ethnic Kurds.

Award-winning journalist Adnan Hassanpour, who has been sentenced to death in two separate trials, is taking part in the hunger strike.

He is to be given a re-trial, his lawyer announced last week."

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Saturday, September 6, 2008

CPJ: Court overturns death sentence but journalist faces espionage charges

New York,September 5, 2008 Prosecutors should drop all charges against Iranian journalist Adnan Hassanpour, whose death sentence was overturned Thursday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

A court of appeal overturned the sentence against Adnan Hassanpour, a journalist and former editor for the now-defunct Kurdish-Persian weekly Aso in Iran’s northwestern province of Kurdistan, local journalists told CPJ. He will face a new trial on charges of “working for outlawed parties” and espionage, a local journalist told CPJ. Salih Nikbakht, Hassanpour’s lawyer, confirmed the new charges to BBC Persian on Wednesday.

A revolutionary court convicted Hassanpour of “fighting with God” (Moharebeh) in a closed trial last year, according to The Associated Press. Iranian Kurdish environmental activist Abdulvahed Butimar was also convicted and sentenced to death. He remains in jail.

“We are relieved that Adnan Hassanpour is no longer under the threat of execution,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “But we are shocked that he continues to face legal charges as a result of his critical journalism.”

Nikbakht told Radio Farda, a U.S.-backed Farsi-language radio station based in Prague and Washington, that his client signed a 148-page confession unrelated to the charges he currently faces.

“He didn’t go into details about the confessions, but he said he had agreed to whatever [the interrogators] wrote because he had been under pressure,” a local journalist who met with Hassanpour last week told CPJ.

A local journalist told CPJ that although Hassanpour is no longer at risk of being hanged, he could face up to 20 years in prison, a sentence commonly given after a commuted death sentence.

Hassanpour worked as an editor for nearly two years at Aso. The weekly was banned in August 2005 following its coverage of violent protests in the Kurdistan area that summer. He had mostly written about poverty and other social issues. On January 25, 2007, he was arrested by security agents in his hometown of Marivan, in Kurdistan province, according to news reports and international human rights organizations.

© 2008 Committee to Protect Journalists.  E-mail:

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Supreme court quashes death sentence against Adnan Hassanpour : Reporters Without Borders calls for his release and dismissal of the case

Reporters Without Borders today welcomed with great relief the ruling by the Tehran Supreme Court overturning a death sentence against Kurdish journalist Adnan Hassanpour because of a procedural error.

The court decided that the journalist, who had been convicted of “subversive activities against national security”, could not be considered as a “mohareb” (an enemy of God) and sent his case back to the lower court in Sanandaj, in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Hassanpour, 26, was arrested outside his home on 25 January 2007 and was imprisoned in Mahabad jail (Kurdistan). He worked for the weekly Asou covering Kurdish issues, a highly sensitive subject in Iran, until it was banned by the Culture and Islamic Orientation Ministry in August 2005. He also contributed to foreign media such as Voice of America and Radio Farda, broadcasting to Iran in Persian.

He was being held at the central jail in Sanandaj and had twice gone on hunger strike in protest at the harsh prison conditions.

“We welcome this ruling by the Iranian justice system with great relief,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said. “It is now time to free this journalist who has been through agony since his arrest more than 18 months ago.”

“There was never any evidence of his guilt, but despite this, the judges in the case have twice decided to sentence him to death. This judicial hounding of independent journalists and those working for foreign media has got to stop,” the organisation said.

His lawyer, Saleh Nikbakht, told Reporters Without Borders of his satisfaction at the outcome. “I just hope that the courts will not make the same mistake again”, he said. He added that one of the judges at the court in Sanandaj, who presided at Hassanpour’s trial, had since been sacked. A new trial is due to open before the Sanandaj lower court on 6 September 2008.

In another case, The Commission for Press Authorisation and Surveillance, headed by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Orientation, on 13 August 2008 cancelled the licence of two weekly newspapers. The ecological magazine Tarabestan Sabaz, press organ of an activist body of the same name published in Tehran for ten years, was shut down by the authorities. Entertainment newspaper Sargarmi, specialising in crosswords, was closed for “publishing inappropriate comments” after the newspaper carried a page of texts from readers some of which included humorous messages about Iranian political leaders.

Reporters Without Borders defends imprisoned journalists and press freedom throughout the world. It has nine national sections (Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland). It has representatives in Bangkok, London, New York, Tokyo and Washington. And it has more than 120 correspondents worldwide. 

© Reporters Without Borders 2008

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Friday, August 29, 2008

“At 1:00 pm, a group of the Pasdars(the Iranian Revolutionary Guard) arrived to the village Qarna. At first look, they found nobody as everybody ran away toward the mountains or tried to be hidden somewhere. Then Guards started to search the houses one after another so they could find the hidden ones. Some of those citizens were killed right in front of their houses. The others were shot or beheaded in the mosque. Then they dragged the dead bodies by their trucks and cars to the Naqadeh and show the bodies to the town of Naqadeh. Most of victims were children, disabled and old people. They were all unarmed and innocent. They beheaded even the only clergy in the village.”
This Happened on Sept 2nd 1980 in a Kurdish village, 12 Kilometer far from Naqadeh in Iran.
Nobody out of Iran ever heard of this massacre. Even inside of Iran rather than the local people, hardly heard of it. Those Pasdars never charged for their crimes or nor got punished for what they did in Qarna. Instead, they got prized and promoted for that genocide.
These kind of crimes kept continue since back then in many ways. Now there are 8 civil rights activists, journalists and teachers are sentenced to death on charge of being Mohareb (fighter against God). Their lives are in danger. According to the recent news, Kurdish political prisoners in Iran, since Monday 25 August 2008, began an indefinite hunger strike to protest those sentences and huge human rights violation in Iranian Kurdistan.

The following eight Kurdish journalists and civil rights activists have been condemned to death in Iran:

  1. Adnan Hassanpour, journalist, also the award-winning journalist who has been condemned to death. Adnan was awarded a media award in Italy by the Information, Safety & Freedom Association, death penalty
  2. Hiva Botimar, civil rights activist and journalist, death penalty
  3. Farzad Kamangar, civil rights and human rights activist, death penalty
  4. Anvar Hossein Panahi, teacher and civil rights activist, death penalty
  5. Farhad Vakili, civil rights activist, death penalty
  6. Ali Hardarian, civil rights activist, death penalty
  7. Arsalan Olyaei, civil rights activist, death penalty
  8. Habib Latifi, student, civil rights activist, death penalty
While another seven have been sentenced to penalties up to 11 years for their alleged Civil Rights activists. Mohammad Sadigh Kaboudvand, Human Rights activist- 11 years- Hana Abdi, Women Rights activist- 5 years- Zainab Bayazidi, Women Rights activist- 4 years- Fatemeh Goftari, Women Rights activist- 19 months- Amir Reza Ardalan, Student - 1 year - Ali Shakeri, Student, 2 and half years - Sohrab Jalali, Civil Rights activist, in spending his charge and deportation to Kashmar.
The prisoner’s hunger strike is to "sensitize Iranian and international public opinion" to "protest against the death sentences given to Kurdish representatives and to denounce continuing human rights violations in prison and outside prison”. If the world was unaware of what happened to Qarna, now with the tools of media there is no excuse for not being informed of what is going on in Iran. We shouldn’t be silent anymore. We should do anything we can to keep their lives safe. This is our responsibility to notify this to all international communities.
We are asking you to help them to stop these executions.
We will get together at 13:00 h, on Aug 29th in front of international crime court in The Hague in order to protest against the death penalty of these 8 journalists and asking the ICC to prosecute the Iranian crime against Kurds victims.

Day and time:
Friday 29 August 2008
1:00 pm
Place :
International criminal court(ICC)
Maanweg, 174
2516 AB, The Hague
The Netherlands
Campaign: Stop Kurd Execution in Iran
Kurds Human Rights Network

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

AKI - Adnkronos international Iran: Jailed Kurds begin hunger strike

Tehran, 25 August (AKI) - Kurdish prisoners, all jailed for political motives in Iran, on Monday began an indefinite hunger strike to promote human rights.

The news, released by the Kurdish agency, Mokrian, was confirmed by the sister of Adnan Hassanpour, the award-winning journalist who has been condemned to death.

Hassanpour was awarded
a media award in Italy by the Information, Safety & Freedom Association.

The prisoners' hunger strike is to "sensitise Iranian and international public opinion" to "protest against the death sentences given to

Kurdish representatives" and to "denounce continuing human rights violations in prison and outside prison".

Eight Kurdish intellectuals and activists have been condemned to death in Iran, while another six have been sentenced to penalties of up to 11 years for their alleged political and militant activities.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

IRAN: Journalist held for two weeks without charge

New York, August 12, 2008The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Iranian authorities to make public any charges against a Kurdish journalist and human rights activist who they have held for more than two weeks, or release him immediately.

On July 27, security forces arrested Saman Rasoulpour, 23, a Kurdish journalist and a member of Organization for the Defense of Human Rights in Kurdistan, in his home in Mahabad, a Kurdish city in northwest Iran, according to local journalists and international news and human rights agencies. He was picked up by three casually dressed men at 9 a.m. and has been detained in Mahabad’s security office since then, local journalists told CPJ.

Rasoulpour is a regular contributor to Rooz Online, a Farsi and English reformist news Web site. Rasoulpour has written about the lack of human rights for Iran’s minority Kurds. In his last article published on Rooz Online in January 28, Rasoulpour reported on a statement by human rights organizations on the death of a detainee—university student Ibrahim Lutfullahiin Sanandaj, capital of Kordestan Province. The authorities had claimed that the detainee had committed suicide, but the organizations and activists were suspicious of the claim and asked for investigation.

“Saman Rasoulpour’s arrest has been shrouded in secrecy. We fear that he is being held for his critical reporting on human rights in Iran,” said CPJ Senior Program Coordinator Joel Campagna. “We call on the Iranian authorities to state why they are holding him and either charge him with a recognizable offense or release him immediately.”

Local journalists told CPJ that Rasoulpour is not legally entitled to a lawyer until he is formally charged.

They also said that they believe his detention is because of his journalism and activism, but one colleague added that “he was always careful about what he was publishing” in terms of not crossing legal lines. Two who have been following the case said Rasoulpour has not been charged yet.

The arrest came two days after a peaceful demonstration in Mahabad to show solidarity with journalists and activists Adnan Hassanpour, 26, and Abdolvahed (Hiwa) Boutimar, 31, who have been on death row since an Islamic tribunal sentenced them in July 2007. They have been convicted of Moharebeh (fighting with God), which, in the Iranian Islamic penal code, is a charge used against persons who allegedly take up arms to violently overthrow the regime.

Local sources told CPJ that Rasoulpour had not participated in the demonstration. His family has been allowed to contact him only once since his detention, journalists told CPJ.

Rasoulpour had been detained for six months without charge in 2006, local journalists told CPJ.

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Iran: Kurdish student sentenced to death

Iran: Kurdish student sentenced to death

Tehran, 13 August (AKI) - An Iranian court has sentenced to death a Kurdish student, Habibollah Latifi, his lawyer Nemat Ahmadi announced late on Tuesday.

Latifi is the third Iranian Kurd to receive a death sentence in less than a month in hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's ongoing campaign against ethnic minorities.

In late July, two teachers, Anwar Hossein Panahi and Arsalan Oliaii were also handed death sentences.

Six Iranian Kurds are now on death row, including award-winning journalist Adnan Hassanpour.

All have been convicted of 'endangering state security' and 'relations with illegal political organisations'.

Prominent Arab journalist Yousef Bani Azizi on Monday was sentenced to five years in prison and last week a young Baloch journalist, Yaghoub Mehrnad was hanged.

Four female Kurdish activists are currently in prison.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Kurdish freelancer arrested two days after show of Kurdish solidarity with two detained journalists

Kurdish freelance journalist Saman Rasoulpour was arrested yesterday at his home in Mahabad, in Iran’s predominantly Kurdish northwest, two days after some 200 Kurds staged a peaceful demonstration in Mahabad to demand the overturning of the death sentences imposed on journalists Adnan Hassanpour and Abdolvahed “Hiva” Botimar, and Kurdish teacher Farzad Kamangar.

“We call on the authorities to explain why they arrested Rasoulpour and we demand his immediate release,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We urge the local authorities to stop harassing Kurdish journalists and to rescind the orders that have closed many Kurdish publications.”

Aged 23, Rasoulpur writes for several newspapers and is a member of the executive committee of the Organisation for the Defence of Human Rights in Kurdistan. He was arrested at his home by intelligence ministry agents who confiscated many documents and took him way to an unknown location.

Hassanpour, 28, and Botimar, 30, were sentenced to death on 16 July 2007 by a revolutionary court in the Kurdish city of Marivan on charges of “subversive activities against national security,” spying and “separatist propaganda.” Their convictions were overturned by the supreme court in Tehran on procedural grounds but a Marivan court reimposed Botimar’s death sentence in April of this year while Hassanpour is awaiting a new trial.

A revolutionary court in Tehran has meanwhile sentenced Mohammad Sadegh Kabovand, the former editor of Payam-e Mardom-e Kurdestan (a Kurdish weekly closed in 2004), to 11 years in prison for creating a human rights organisation in Iran’s Kurdish northwest. He has been held in the capital’s Evin prison since his arrest in July 2007. The sentence was issued on 22 June.

Journalist Sedigh Minai of the weekly Asou, was released today after being held for 21 days. He was arrested on 2 July after responding to a summons from prosecutors in the Kurdish city of Sanandaj.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Iran upholds death sentence for Kurdish activist


13 April 2008

TEHERAN - Iran has upheld a death sentence for a Kurdish activist convicted of links to an outlawed separatist group after the supreme court quashed the original hanging verdict, his lawyer said on Sunday.

“A revolutionary court in the town of Marivan has sentenced Hiva Botimar to death for the second time after the supreme court quashed its first verdict and ordered a new trial,” lawyer Saleh Nikbakht told AFP.

He said the court in western Kordestan province had found 31-year-old environmental activist Botimar guilty of “moharebeh” (being an enemy of god) and having ties with Turkey’s outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Nikbakht said the court cited as evidence of guilt hundreds of bullets found in Botimar’s possession which he had recovered from an abandoned army camp in a Kordestan village when he was 14.

“The court gave its ruling regardless of the army’s official explanations,” the lawyer said, adding that he had 20 days to appeal the verdict against his client who has been in jail since December 2006.

In a separate ruling, the supreme court has quashed a death sentence against another Kurdish man accused of espionage and imprisoned since January 2007, Nikbakht said.

Adnan Hassanpour, 26, who briefly worked as a journalist for a local publication in Kordestan province, “was approached by some political people to gather information about military sites,” the lawyer said.

“He has denied any systematic ties with outlawed political groups,” Nikbakht said, adding that he awaited a judiciary ruling for a retrial.

The death sentences were in July 2007 condemned in Europe and raised the concern of press and human rights watchdogs.

But Nikbakht said the charges against Hassanpour were unrelated to his journalistic work.

Iran has been battling separatist rebels of the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), which is linked to the PKK, in its western Kurdish-populated areas.

Tehran has repeatedly accused the United States of seeking to stir up ethnic unrest by providing material support to PJAK, which has bases in northeastern neighbouring Iraq.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

AKI - Adnkronos international Iran: Young Beluchi journalist condemned to death

Iran: Young Beluchi journalist condemned to death

Tehran, 12 Feb. (AKI) - Yaghoub Mehrnahad, a student and journalist from the Beluchi ethnic group, is the latest person to be condemned to death in Iran.

The trial against Mehrnahad took place behind closed doors on Monday without legal representation or his family.

According to the student site of the Amir Kabir University of Technology in Tehran, the young journalist was arrested last April at the end of a debate organised in Zahewdan, capital of Iranian Beluchistan.

His family last saw him in Zahefan prison last December saying his body showed obvious signs of torture.

Quoted on the Amir Kabiri site, Yaghoub's younger brother said it was being said that his brother had died in prison after being tortured and his trial and death sentence was only a way to hide the truth.

Mehrnahad is accused of having had contact with the armed group of Jondollah, that operates in Iranian Beluchistan.

Mehrnahad is not the first journalist condemned to death in recent years. Two other Kurdish journalists, Hiwa Boutimar and Adnan Hassanpour were condemned to death last July and are awaiting execution.

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Reporters sans frontières - Iran - Annual report 2008

ran’s leaders still accuse the independent media of being in the pay of the United States or the European Union, which has resulted in long prison terms for journalists from a cowed and complicit judiciary. Reporters based in Teheran and Kurdistan were targeted in 2007, with dozens of arrests, convictions and closures of newspapers.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hit the world’s headlines in 2007 with his diatribes against the West and his talk of nuclear development, saying it was “the country’s greatest battle” and using it to hide Iran’s economic and social problems. Several journalists protected by the regime’s hardliners strongly criticised him in print and some papers, with bogus liberalism, opposed government policies. Freelance journalists who did the same, however, were punished and the country remained the Middle East’s biggest prison for journalists, with more than 50 journalists jailed in 2007. Ten of them were still in prison at the end of the year.

When asked abroad about human rights violations and imprisonment of dissidents and members of religious and sexual minorities, Ahmadinejad insists that Iranians are “the freest people in the world.” But the regime’s persecution of journalists and human rights activists continued in 2007.

The March 2008 parliamentary elections are expected to see further restrictions on the free flow of information. Many reformist papers were closed and news websites blocked during the last elections in 2004.

Journalist condemned to death

Hundreds of people were executed in 2007 and the supreme court confirmed in November a death sentence on freelance journalist Adnan Hassanpour, accused of “undermining national security,” “spying,” “separatist propaganda” and being a mohareb (fighter against God). He was arrested on 25 January and has been in Sanandaj prison, in Kurdistan, since 18 July and has refused to sign any confessions. He was probably arrested because of his contacts with journalists working for the US-funded radio stations Radio Farda and Voice of America.


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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Request from ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN to cancel the execution sentence of journalist ADNAN HASSANPOUR


Captivity of a journalist is the Captivity of the liberty all, and his /her abnormal death is an ashamed chapter of history
Request from ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN to cancel the execution sentence of journalist ADNAN HASSANPOUR
Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
Article 3.Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
Article 19.Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Dear Sirs:
Ayatollah SAYYED ALI KHAMNEI,leader of Islamic Republic of IRAN,
Ayatollah SHAHROUDI,
Dr. MAHMOUD AHMADINJAD, president of Islamic Republic of IRAN,
GHOLAMHOSAYN ELHAM, minister of justice,
MOHSENIYE EJEI, minister of intelligence,
Our co journalist, ADNAN HASANPOUR has been under arrest since 2006 December, according to the sentence which has been issued by revolutionary court of MARIWAN (first branch); he is condemned to be executed.
his attorney made a protest against this sentence, unfortunately after renewed inspection, the sentence has been remained intact. According to his statement there is just one legal way to object to this sentence.
We are some journalists – with different colors and races from all over the world, and we are gathered in this campaign to request you to cancel death sentence of our co journalist.
You are so well aware that history never forget death of ((Daniel Pear)) , ((Anna Pulitiko feskaya)) , ((Mastero jiakumo )) , (( Ajmal naghshbandi)) , etc. although number of journalists whom left the world of journalism by abnormal death (killing , execution , …) are not so much , but they all joined history and their names are and will be shiny in sheets of the history . Certainly Islamic Republic of IRAN does not intended to add other names to the list.
So we request you to cancel the issued death sentence for ADNAN HASSANPOUR and show your commitment to ((universal declaration of human rights)) and international conventions.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Kurdish students arrested after Tehran protest, Mohammad Saleh Abuman, Farshad Doostipour, Javad Alizadeh and Sohrab Karimi

December 11, 2007

Tehran, -- Four Kurdish students, who called for human rights for their ethnic group at a university protest, have been arrested in Iran.

Mohammad Saleh Abuman, Farshad Doostipour, Javad Alizadeh and Sohrab Karimi, spoke in support of human rights for ethnic Kurds during a protest that drew 1500 young people at the University of Tehran on Sunday.

They also called for the immediate release of four jailed Kurdish journalists, three students and one female Kurd, and the suspension of the death penalty imposed on Adnan Hassanpour.

Hassanpour, a journalist from the weekly newspaper Asu (The Wave) was sentenced to death on 17 July by an Islamic court for being an "enemy of Allah".

Hassanpour and another Kurdish journalist, Hiwa Boutimar, received the City of Siena -Isf award for freedom of the press on 30 November.

adnkronos com

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Journalist freed on bail, but 11 others still held

Yaghoub Salaki Nia, a journalist who had spent 50 days in Tehran’s Evin prison without being charged, was freed on 19 December after payment of 80 million toumen (80,000 euros) in bail. Eleven other journalists are still detained in Iran, the Middle East’s biggest prison for the press.
“We cannot welcome Nia’s release without at the same time thinking of the other journalists still held in appalling conditions, often in solitary confinement,” Reporters Without Borders said. “They include Adnan Hassanpour, who has been awaiting execution for the past several months. There has never been any letup in the Islamic Republic’s repression of journalists in these past few years. An international campaign is more necessary than ever.”
A contributor to several publications including Shamesse Tabriz, Ahrar and Omid Zanjan, Nia had been arrested on 30 October.
Adl Mazri, the editor of the newspaper Sobh e Zahedan, was released on 12 December, four days after being summoned by a revolutionary tribunal in the southeastern city of Zahedan and arrested on charges of publishing false information and “disturbing public opinion” as a result of a complaint by the prefect of Sistan and Baluchestan province. He is now awaiting trial.
Ashtai, a weekly published in Kurdish and Farsi that was suspended on 5 August, was closed for good on 3 December by a court in the city of Sanandaj, the capital of the northwestern province of Kurdistan. Arzesh, a conservative quarterly, was at the same time closed by a court in Tehran and its editor, Ali Nazari was fined 1,200 euros.
A European parliamentary delegation called for Hassanpour’s release during a visit to Tehran from 9 to 11 December. Hassanpour’s death sentence was upheld by the Tehran supreme court on 22 October.
Plight of imprisoned journalists
The authorities have still not revealed where they are holding Omid Ahamadzadeh, a contributor to Aso and Didgah, two newspapers that have been suspended since 2005. The reasons for his arrest by intelligence officers in Sanandaj on 28 November are also still unknown. The official news agency ILNA did however report that Abolfazl Abedini Nasr of the daily Bahar Khozestan has been charged with “complicity with a terrorist entity.” Arrested on 13 November in the southwestern city of Ahvaz, he is reportedly suspected of links with someone responsible for a bombing.
A hearing in the appeal of journalist and human rights activist Emadoldin Baghi was held on 15 November in his absence. The former editor of Jomhouriat (a daily suspended in 2004), Baghi is appealing against the three-year sentence he got from a Tehran revolutionary court for “activity against national security” and “publicity in favour of government opponents.” He has been in solitary confinement in Evin prison since his arrest on 14 October.
The many requests for the release of reporter Ejlal Ghavami of the weekly Payam-e Mardom-e Kurdestan on health grounds have been ignored. Ghavami, who needs an operation for an acute eye infection that is discharging pus, is serving a three-year sentence in Evin prison for “inciting people to revolt” and “activity against national security.” The editor of Payam-e Mardom-e Kurdestan, Mohammad Sadegh Kabovand, has not been able to take advantage of a conditional release order because his family cannot raise the amount of bail demanded, which is 150 million toumen (145,000 euros).
Said Matinpour of the weekly Yarpagh has meanwhile been allowed to receive a visit from his family for the first time since his arrest on 28 May.
Sign the petition for Adnan Hassanpour’s release

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

July 17th: Hadi & Layli receive Journalist Awards for Adnan & Hiwa

We are in Italy.
We collected Hiwa and Adnan's Freedom of the Press awards from ISF * on 30.11.2007 in Siena City, Toscani county. On the same day we went to Toscani local parliament in Florence and gave a speech there.
Tomorrow Layli Hasanpur and I are going to Italy's parliament in Rome at 11am.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007


November 14, 2007

Amnesty International Condemns the Confirmation of the Death Sentence Against Iranian Kurdish Journalist Adnan Hassanpour

(Washington, DC)--Amnesty International USA's Iran country specialist Elise Auerbach released the following statement in response to a recent confirmation of Iranian Kurdish journalist Adnan Hassanpour's death sentence in the midst of a widespread and harsh crackdown on Iranians engaging in dissent or criticism of the government:

"It appears that Iranian authorities are using the courts to silence Hassanpour for his legitimate journalistic activities and advocacy on behalf of Iranian Kurdish cultural rights," said Auerbach. "The charge on which Hassanpour was convicted and sentenced to death--moharebeh ba Khoda or 'enmity against God'--is vague, and was prosecuted through judicial proceedings not on par with international standards for fair trials."

"Amnesty International urges Iranian authorities to commute Hassanpour's death sentence and make public all details of the charges and evidence against him."


Hassanpour was reportedly accused of espionage for allegedly revealing the location of military sites and establishing contacts with the United States government through statements made to Voice of America and Radio Farda and articles he published in the weekly journal Aso which the Iranian authorities closed down in August 2005. The Mehr News Agency, which is closely linked to the Iranian government, also alleged that Hassanpour had been in contact with Kurdish opposition groups.

Contact: Laura Spann at (202)-544-0200x232

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Iran: Adnan Hassanpour death sentence upheld - English Pen

Published: November 14, 2007

English PEN is deeply alarmed by reports that the death sentence handed down to Iranian Kurdish journalist, writer and human rights activist Adnan Hassanpour has been upheld by the Supreme Court.

Hassanpour was convicted of being a mohareb ('enemy of God') and 'acting against national security' for expressing his views on Kurdish issues and he was sentenced to death on 16 July 2007. According to information received by PEN, his sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court on 22 October 2007 although his lawyers were not notified until 5 November 2007.

Saleh Nikbakht, one of his lawyers, told Reporters Without Borders that 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'. Nikbakht added that: 'This sentence is not only contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the international conventions ratified by Iran, but it also contrary to Islamic law and the laws of the Islamic Republic.' According to Reporters Without Borders, Iran has executed more than 300 people since the start of the year. Hassanpour now plans to appeal the sentence, a process which is expected to take considerable time.

English 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's cousin, environmentalist Abdolwahed (known as Hiwa) Butimar who worked with Hassanpour for the Kurdish-Persian weekly journal Aso (Horizon), had also been sentenced to death on the same charges. The court quashed his conviction on the grounds of procedural irregularity and his case was sent back to a revolutionary court for re-examination.

English 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. Several other Iranian-Kurdish journalists are currently detained, including Kaveh Javanmard, Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand and Ejlal Qavami. In the same week that Hassanpour's sentence was upheld, freelancer Yaghoub Salaki Nia was detained without charge at Evin prison in Tehran.

For further information on Adnan Hassanpour's case please click here

To sign the Reporters Without Borders online petition for Adnan Hassanpour and Abdolwahed Butimar please click here

Please send appeals:

• Protesting the death sentence handed down to journalist Adnan Hassanpour, and calling for his release.

• 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 Iranian-Kurdish journalists and writers detained 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: or
Salutation: Your Excellency

His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: via Judiciary website:
Salutation: Your Excellency

Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie
Ministry of Intelligence,
Second Negarestan Street,
Pasdaran Avenue,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran.
Salutation: Dear Minister

You may also send copies to:

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")
via website:

It may be most effective to forward all the above appeals care of the Iranian representative in London:

His Excellency Mr Rasoul Movahedian
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
16 Prince's Gate
London SW7 1PT
Fax: 0207 589 4440

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decision upholding death sentence for Kurdish journalist should be “taken seriously”

Supreme court decision upholding death sentence for Kurdish journalist should be “taken seriously”

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the supreme court’s decision to uphold the death sentence for Kurdish-Iranian journalist Adnan Hassanpour for “spying.” The ruling was issued on 22 October but was not revealed until this week.

The court quashed the conviction of another journalist convicted in the same case, Abdolvahed “Hiva” Botimar, on the grounds of procedural irregularity. Botimar had also been under sentence of death.

“We have been waiting for than six months for the supreme court to decide whether to reopen the case against Iranian-Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi’s alleged murderers, but it took the court only a few weeks to uphold Hassanpour’s death sentence, so the judicial system clearly continues to have a pro-government bias,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“We appeal to the international community to take every possible action to get this journalist released,” the press freedom organisation added. “This sentence should be taken very seriously as Iran has already executed more than 300 people since the start of the year.”

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.”

He added that the court overturned Botimar’s conviction on the grounds of a “procedural irregularity,” and sent his case back to the same revolutionary court in Marivan (in the Kurdish northwest of Iran) that convicted him and Hassanpour on 16 July on charges of spying, “subversive activity against national security” and “separatist propaganda.”

Nikbakht told Reporters Without Borders: “This sentence is not only contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the international conventions ratified by Iran, but it also contrary to Islamic law and the laws of the Islamic Republic.”

Hassanpour, 27, and Botimar, 29, used to work for the weekly Asou, covering the sensitive Kurdish issue, until the newspaper was banned by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance in August 2005. Hassanpour also worked for foreign news media including Voice of America and Radio Farda.

An ardent advocate of Kurdish cultural rights, Hassanpour was arrested outside his home on 25 January and was taken to Mahabad, where he was not allowed to receive visits from his family or his lawyer. Botimar, an active member of the environmental NGO Sabzchia, was arrested on 25 December. For the past several months, Hassanpour and Botimar have been held in Sanandaj prison, where their lawyers have not been allowed to meet with them in private in order to inform them of the supreme court’s decision.

Sign the petition on behalf of Adnan Hassanpour and Abdolvahed “Hiva” Botimar

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President Ahmadinejad Delivers Remarks to the National Press Club -

MODERATOR: Two of the journalists that have been arrested in Iran have been sentenced to death simply for doing their jobs

President Ahmadinejad: This news is fundamentally wrong

I think the people who give this information should seek what is the truth and, sort of, disseminate what's correct.

AHMADINEJAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): So I invite everyone present in this meeting to come and visit Iran for themselves, to come freely and visit the country all over, to speak with the people there. Then their point of view will change.

MODERATOR: Two of the journalists that have been arrested in Iran have been sentenced to death simply for doing their jobs.

Mr. President, can you give us your word that you will do everything in your power to keep this sentence from being carried out?

AHMADINEJAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): This news is fundamentally wrong. This is incorrect. This is not correct at all about Iran, what's happening. What journalist has been sentenced to death?

I'm sorry that some press here disseminates what's untrue. Why should we insist on propagating what's untrue? This moves away from the...

MODERATOR: This report comes from Reporters Without Borders.

AHMADINEJAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Well, this is incorrect.

Who are these people? Can you let me know who they are, so that at least I can be aware of who they are, too?

MODERATOR: I will certainly do that.

Moving on, Iranian women are...

AHMADINEJAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I would be certainly grateful. That would be very helpful to me.

MODERATOR: OK, I have just been handed a report from Reporters Without Borders, and it names the names Adnan Hassanpour and -- forgive me, this is a little difficult -- Abdolvahed "Hiva" Botimar.

AHMADINEJAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Where were they involved in as a journalist and where were they arrested? I don't know people by that name.


I think that what you received was incorrect information.

You have to, sort of, rectify the information channel. You have -- on a daily basis, over 30 newspapers currently are filled with pages and pages of, basically, criticizing the president and the administration in Iran and even sometimes insulting our policies and what we do.

AHMADINEJAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): All the journalists and newspapers also receive the loans from the government -- actually, not loans, but grants from the government.

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Iranian Journalist's Death Sentence Upheld

Iran's supreme court has upheld the death sentence for 27-year-old Kurdish journalist Adnan Hassanpour -- convicted of "spying" for allegedly having U.S. State Department contacts (that's also called "reporting"). Like his original death sentence, which he had to read about in a newspaper rather than being told, the ruling upholding the death sentence was issued Oct. 22, but Hassanpour's lawyer found out Nov. 5 (sans details).

This is the same journalist that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, addressing the National Press Club in September, denied existed:

    "This news is fundamentally wrong. This is incorrect. This is not correct at all about Iran, what's happening. What journalist has been sentenced to death? I'm sorry that some press here disseminates what's untrue. Why should we insist on propagating what's untrue?"

Hassanpour, who served on the editorial board of the weekly newspaper Aso, staged a hunger strike in protest after his death sentence was originally handed down.

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Iran court upholds death sentence on dissident | International | Reuters

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence on a Kurdish dissident journalist convicted of charges including spying, his lawyer said on Friday.

A Revolutionary Court in the western Kurdish city of Marivan sentenced Adnan Hassanpour to death in July.

A colleague, Abdolvahed 'Hiva' Botimar, was sentenced to death at the same time but the Supreme Court referred his case to another court.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a Paris-based media watchdog, has called the death sentences against Hassanpour and Botimar "outrageous and shameful".

"The court has upheld Hassanpour's sentence but has referred Botimar's sentence to a lower court for further reinvestigation," lawyer Saleh Nikbakht told Reuters.

Under Iranian law, all execution orders must be upheld by Iran's Supreme Court.

The judiciary said in July the pair were sentenced to death for mounting "armed struggle against the system", which is among crimes that are considered "Moharebeh", an Islamic term meaning "enmity with God" -- a capital crime.

"Hassanpour's charges are various, including giving classified military information to incompetent figures, having contact with foreigners and espionage," Nikbakht said.

The lawyer said the sentence was "unfair" and he would appeal on behalf of his client.

The two Kurdish journalists wrote for a Kurdish magazine called Aso (Horizons) before it was banned in August 2005, but Iran's judiciary has said their charges were not related to their profession.

RSF said the death sentences "show how little Iran is bothered by international humanitarian law. They also show how determined it is to use every possible means to silence the most outspoken journalists and human rights activists".

Iran's rights record is criticized by the West and rights groups often report that Tehran imprisons political dissidents without due legal process.

Rights groups and Western diplomats say Iranian authorities have increased pressure on dissidents, intellectuals and critical journalists, adding this may in part be a response to mounting international pressure over its atomic program.

The West accuses Iran of covertly trying to build nuclear arms. Iran denies the charge, saying it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity.

(Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Charles Dick

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ahmadinejad: "misinformation" about Adnasn and Hiva , he said: "The news is fundamentally wrong"

When asked if he would intervene in the cases of two Iranian journalists who have been sentenced to death, according to Reporters Without Borders, Ahmadinejad pleaded ignorance and accused the group of misinformation. “The news is fundamentally wrong. This is incorrect. This is not correct at all about Iran, what’s happening,” he said. When given the names of the journalists, Abdolvahed “Hiva” Botimar and Adnan Hassanpour, he didn’t budge. “I don’t know people by that name,” he said.

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Ahmadinejad was asked about sentence of death, Adnan Hassanpour & Hiva Botimar-This is incorrect-

Ahmadinejad was asked about two journalists who have been sentenced to death in Iran. "This is incorrect," he says.

Is it? Reporters Without Borders says a revolutionary tribunal sentenced Adnan Hassanpour and Abdolvahed “Hiva” Botimar to death "for spying, 'subversive activities against national security' and 'separatist propaganda.'” Read the group's report here.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

July 17th: Hunger Strike

July 17th: Hunger Strike:

Hunger Strike

Martin Hadi and family and some friends were showing solidarity with his brother Hiwa and Adnan as they staged a public hunger strike this week in London.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Reporters sans frontières - Iran

Reporters sans frontières - Iran:

Two journalists under sentence of death now on 42nd day of hunger strike

Reporters Without Borders is worried about the state of health of journalists Adnan Hassanpour and Abdolvahed “Hiva” Botimar, who are under sentence of death and who began their 42nd day on hunger strike today. Their lawyer, Saleh Nikhbakht, who met them on 20 August, said they are “very weak” and “will not hold out much longer.” They are consuming nothing but of water with a little sugar dissolved in it.

“We hold the chief of the judicial system, Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi, personally responsible for the state of health of these two journalists, which is the result of the appalling conditions in which they are being held,” the press freedom organisation said. “They are in solitary confinement and their most basic rights are being flouted.”

Hassanpour and Botimar, who write for the magazine Asou, went on hunger strike to protest against the conditions in Sanandaj prison, in Iran’s Kurdish northwest, where they have been held for more than six months. They have been allowed to see their families only once, on 8 August. They are demanding an end to their solitary confinement, their transfer to another prison and the ability to see their relatives and lawyers freely. They are also asking to see a justice department official.

In his latest statement, published by the FARS news agency, Nikhbakht said the Sanandaj prosecutor refused to transfer them to the prison in Marivan, where their families live, unless ordered to do so by Ayatollah Shahroudi.

A revolutionary tribunal in Marivan sentenced them to death on 16 July for spying, “subversive activities against national security” and “separatist propaganda.”

Meanwhile, Reporters Without Borders is still without news of Ako Kurdnasab, a journalist with the weekly Karfto, who has been held in Sanandaj prison since 21 July, and Soheil Assefi, a freelance journalist who contributes to several news media, who has been held in Tehran’s Evin prison since 4 August. Neither has been tried and it is not known what they are charged with. Assefi has not been allowed any visits.

Two non-political prisoners have been placed in the cell in which Payam-e mardom-e Kurdestan editor Mohammad Sadegh Kabovand is being held in the Evin prison’s security wing 209 and, as a result, he is worried about his safety, his wife said. Kabovand has been held in Evin prison since his arrest on 1 July and initially he was in solitary confinement.

With 11 journalist currently detained, Iran continues to be the Middle East’s biggest prison for the press and is one of the world’s 10 most repressive countries as regards freedom of the media.

Sign the petition on behalf of Adnan Hassanpour and Abdolvahed “Hiva” Botimar

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Targeting Journalists and the Information Superhighway Divide (Asharq Alawsat Newspaper)

Targeting Journalists and the Information Superhighway Divide (Asharq Alawsat Newspaper): Targeting Journalists and the Information Superhighway Divide


Without publishing the details of their conviction, an Iranian Revolutionary Court issued death sentences against Iranian Kurdish journalist, Adnan Hassanpur, and Iranian Kurdish environmental activist, Abdolwahed (Hiwa) Butimar.

In a closed session, both journalists were convicted on charges of endangering national security, as well as conspiring and working to spread separatist propaganda against the state.

Hassanpur had previously criticized the Iranian regime on several occasions, and his weekly newspaper was banned from publication by the authorities in 2005. However, the accusations leveled against him and his indictment was not linked to his profession as a journalist. The mystery that surrounded his trial has led many to believe that his criticism of the regime was the real reason behind his conviction.

The sentences issued against the two men are neither exceptional nor reprehensible in a regime like the Iranian one, or in the Arab regimes in the region, all of which have a long history of targeting journalists and intellectuals. Many have been imprisoned or subjected to murder and prosecution. Although there is an abundance of news about unfair trials in various Arab states, this sentence issued by Iran’s Revolutionary Court is an alarming one since it has reached the death penalty, rather than just imprisonment.

But if the increasing number of reporters persecuted by their arbitrary regimes is a matter that elicits concern, then it must be said that the number of journalists abducted or killed is more abominable and frightening. This is especially so given the unprecedented rise in the number of victims, some of whom are in Iraq. Theirs is a plight that is not attentively received by the Arab public firstly, nor the international public opinion in turn.

When journalists are imprisoned, statements of condemnation and petitions are issued, while activists or concerned organizations try to mobilize the cause by exposing it before the public opinion.

When journalists are killed, in Iraq or Lebanon for example, we count the bodies  without disregarding the alarming numbers of the civilian victims in Iraq alone.

But if that’s the case; how could we even begin to assess the impact of the consequences of information related to prosecution, murder and intimidation?! How can we find out what we know nothing of if this high cost of delivering information subsists? And what is the real price of silence, which is intended for many people in our region who are imprisoned by it.

Such questions are worthy of contemplation, particularly in light of the development and diversity of communication means. However, in the face of this information revolution, these regimes have remained ensnared by their inherent tyrannies, while the societies are victimized by their beliefs and dogmas. Iraq is an example; the number of journalists and civilians killed has become difficult to enumerate.

But this targeting is not simply planned by regimes alone, but also by rival groups, or sometimes even by the very group that the journalist is affiliated with  as in the cases of journalists who dare to criticize the practices of their fellow countrymen.

It is true that today we live in the era of the citizen-journalist, by virtue of the huge scope of information available on the Internet to all those wishing to express their opinions or share their experience. But this alone is not enough, especially with the dedicated efforts exerted to block the websites and prosecute activists on the web.

There is no doubt that the cost of death and murder are hard to measure, however this persistence in targeting and killing journalists doubles the danger that the rest of them have to endure.

It is the social cost of terror and a coercive inducement towards silence.

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July 17th

July 17th:

View this file

Click here to view a pdf statement from the THE OBSERVATORY for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders' on behalf of Adnan & Hiwa.

We are fully confident of their rigour and integrity as an organisation in cases like this.

(file name:
092 IRN 007_0807_OBS 092.pdf)

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007



To His Excellency
The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Mahmoud Ahmedinejad

We have been informed that the two Kurdish journalists, Adnan Hasanpour and Hiwa Butimar, on the 17 of July 2007 were arrested and condemned by the regime because of articles they had published. They are, according to our sources, sentenced to death, whish is extremely inhuman. You can never prevent or stop anyone from thinking. You can not prevent someone from writing what he or she thinks.
If think that someone is thinking in a wrong way you can only convince him or her with the help of good arguments. If you use violence or sentence someone to death, and can do that because you are in power, you only expose that your arguments have run out. At the same time you commit a crime against
democratic and human rights. The international community will hold you and your regime responsible for the execution of of Adnan Hasanpour and Hiwa Butimar. We strongly protest against the death penalty against Adnan Hasanpour and Hiwa Butimar Yours Sincerely Lars Ohly
Kalle Larsson MP, Chairman
MP of the Left Party of Sweden.
Member of the Central Committee
of the Left Party of Sweden
Hans Linde MP, member of the Standing Committee of
Foreign Affairs in the Parliament of Sweden

Sök på vilken webbsida som helst med hög säkerhet.
Skaffa Windows Live Toolbar i dag -- helt gratis!
Testa nu!

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Two journalists on hunger strike protest their death sentences

Date: 14 August 2007
Source: Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
Person(s): Adnan Hassanpour, Abdolvahed Botimar

(RSF/IFEX) - On 13 August 2007, Reporters Without Borders wrote to United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon urging him to intercede in the case of Adnan Hassanpour and Abdolvahed Botimar, two journalists who were sentenced to death on 16 July, and to ask the Islamic Republic of Iran to adhere to the international treaties it has signed concerning civil and political rights.
"Their most basic rights were violated as they were barred from court when the sentence was handed down," the letter said. "Even more egregiously, they were not notified of the sentence and only found out from a newspaper."
Hassanpour and Botimar (who is also known as "Hiva"), were allowed a visit from a family member in their prison in Sanandaj, in Iran's Kurdish northwestern region, on 8 August. They discovered they had been sentenced to death from a report in the daily "Kayhan". They have been on hunger strike for nearly 30 days, and are consuming only water to which some sugar is added.
The letter pointed out that 11 journalists are currently in prison in Iran for trying to do their job. Some are serving sentences imposed in trials with no due process. Others are being held without trial. The prison conditions are appalling and they are denied access to the medical treatment they need.
"Journalists are being harassed and threatened by the regime, which is waging a witch-hunt against the independent media," the letter said. "Many of them have been brought into court on charges which are baseless but are deemed admissible by a compliant judicial system."
The letter concluded: "These men need to know that they have your support. If the United Nations were to intercede on their behalf, they would be able to recover a degree of dignity and the freedom to work as journalists. We are convinced that you could find ways and arguments to get Iran to respect the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which it has signed."
Of the nine other journalists currently in prison, Soheil Assefi is the one who was arrested most recently. A contributor to several news media, he was detained when he responded to a summons and presented himself to a Tehran court on 4 August, four days after officials from the prosecutor's office searched his home, taking personal documents and computer material. He is now being held in Tehran's Evin prison on unknown charges. He was able to telephone a relative on 9 August but has not been allowed to receive visits.
Farshad Gorbanpour, who was arrested for no clear reason on 31 July, is also being held in Evin prison. According to his wife, who was able to visit him once, he is charged with "activity against national security" and could be released if he pays bail of 200 million touman (approx. 158,000 euros).
Journalist Ako Kurdnasab of the Sanandaj-based weekly "Karfto" was arrested at his newspaper office by intelligence ministry officials on 21 July after one of the city's courts opened an investigation against him. He is now awaiting trial in Sanandaj prison. His family has had no word from him and does not know what he is charged with.
Ejlal Ghavami of "Payam-e Mardom-e Kurdestan" (a weekly that was closed by the authorities in 2004) has been detained since 9 July, a month after a Sanandaj court sentenced him on 9 June to three years in prison for "inciting populations to revolt" and "activity against national security." He has an eye infection. "Payam-e Mardom-e Kurdestan" editor Mohammad Sadegh Kabovand was arrested on 1 July and sent to Evin prison, where he staged an eight-day hunger strike in protest against his solitary confinement. Reporters Without Borders has been told that he is under a great deal of pressure to deny information published by the Kurdistan Human Rights Organisation, of which he is one of the founders. He is also reportedly charged with "activity against national security."
Said Matinpour of "Yarpagh" (an Azeri-language weekly based in Tehran) has been detained since 28 May, when he and his wife were arrested at their home in the northwestern city of Zanjan. He was transferred to Tehran two days later and is now being held in security section 209 in Evin prison. He has not been charged and neither his relatives nor his lawyer have been able to see him.
Three other journalists have been held since last year. Kaveh Javanmard of "Karfto" was arrested on 18 December in Sanandaj and was sentenced during a secret trial on 17 May to two years in prison for "inciting revolt" and "activity against national security." Ali Farahbakhsh, a contributor to several business newspapers including "Sarmayeh", was arrested on 27 November and was sentenced on 26 March to three years in prison for spying. He is currently being held in Evin prison's security section 209, where he has for some time been deprived of his medicine.
Finally, Mohammad Hassin Falahieh of the state TV station Al-Alam's Arabic-language service has been detained since November 2006. He was convicted of spying by a revolutionary court on 29 April and is now serving a three-year sentence in Evin prison's security section 209. His lawyer says he is ill and needs treatment.
Sign the petition on behalf of the journalists who have been sentenced to death in Iran:

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Hunger strikes

Adnan & Hiwa have both been hunger striking for 35 days now. They are, as you may imagine, very weak.

We are trying to secure the help of Red Crescent/Red Cross to visit them with medical care and even obtain a transfer to a hospital from the jail in Sanandaj.

Keep campaigning on their behalf. Spread the news of this website. Keep writing letters and emails and if you are a praying person, please bring their case before God.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Visit granted for families

Martin Hadi Butimar, brother of Hiwa, writes about his family's visit to Hiwa.

A pleasing and decent visit, but anxious doubly and unpleasant!

I am pretty sure that you have already been aware so far through Medias about Mr. Adnan Hasan Poor and Mr. Hiwa Butimar two Kurdish journalists and social activists whom have been sentenced to death unfairly and far from justices human right frame work by the Iranian Revolutionary Supreme Court in charge of fighting against GOD! and also acting against Iranian National Security. This verdict of Iranian Revolutionary Supreme Court was accompanied by the Human Rights Organisations, Philanthropists, and noble Kurdish Nation’s reactions in all over the world.

As a results of these global pressures on the Iranian Government and also unlimited persistence of the accused to death youth’s families on the Iranian Revolutionary Supreme Court’s Judges and commissioners, they had agreed with short visiting of the families with their imprisoned sentenced to death youth, whom had been jailed in unknown places since they have sentenced to death which was 26 days ago. Of course during this time, the families were living in bewildered situation without having any news about their sons, whether or not that they are still alive.
For now not just as a Brother of Hiwa Butimar but, it is of my obligation as a human to inform all Medias, Human Rights Organisations, Philanthropists, Noble Kurdish Nation, Liberal Iranians and all democratic states in all over the world, about the current status of Adnan Hassan Poor and Hiwa Butimar and their general health according to the statements of the families after the short visiting of them.
The families were awarded a short visit of their son by the Iranian Intelligence service in Sanandaj Intelligence service’s jail, on Tuesday the August 9th 2007. the intelligence service commissioners were let 2 members of each families to visit their son while two officers were presented during the visit and they were pictured every moments of their meeting. This appointment have clarified for the families that their son are imprisoned in Sanandaj.
Mr. Adnan hasan Poor and Mr. Hiwa Butimar were mentioned the they have been displaced suddenly from Mariwan Public prisons to Sanandaj Jail 26 days ago without making them aware of their death sentences, and also without attendance of their advocate. They have been undergoing tortures and strict torment in Sanandaj Jail since they have been arrived there, and therefore as an objection against these wild treatments of the Jail wardens, they have been strike from eating since that time. However they have written 3 letters to the Court about their strike and they have delivered them to the Jail commissioner, which none of them has not been handled to the Court yet.
However, they were not informed from their death sentences from date that issued up to last week when they were reading their Death Sentenced Confirmation by the Iranian Justice spokesman in the Jail’s newspaper as his statements were published in the several Daily Newspapers in Iran. After knowing about their death sentences in Newspaper eventually, they have been more deterministic on their strike and persisting on it, which is still continuing. According to the family, they are not in good health conditions and they definitely need medical treatments as soon as possible. Otherwise they are going through more and more weakness and gradual dying from starvation as results of their strike. In additions, the Jail’s Commissioners have denied the medical check up or treatments of them by the Jail’s Doctor.
As families of Mr. Adnan Hasan Poor and Mr. Hiwa Butimar, we are stretching out our hands humbly towards Non Border Physicians Organisation, Humans Right Watch, Humans Right Defenders and all philanthropists in all over the world to help our sons in the Jail.

Hadi Butimar

0044 771 948 6669
0044 770 311 2814

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