Thursday, July 26, 2007

Norway: Iranian Kurd Ata Hassanpour says my cousin is to be hanged in Iran

Norway: Iranian Kurd Ata Hassanpour says my cousin is to be hanged in Iran: "Norway, -- Ata Hassanpour received the shocking news on Wednesday: his cousin is to be hanged back home in Iran.

'I just talked with the Adnan’s mother on the phone. She cried all the time and she wants to commit suicide if he is hanged', says Ata Hassanpour quietly.

He sits in the living room in Fyllingsdalen and smokes while staring into the air. In his hand he holds a paper napkin. Less than 24 hours ago he received an email which shocked the family in Norway. Ata’s cousin, 25 year old Kurdish journalist and author Adnan Hassanpour had been sentenced to death by a so-called Revolutionary Tribunal in Iran.

Wrote about Kurdish history
According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Adnan Hassanpour was convicted together with a well known Kurdish activist, Hiwa Botimar. Both were sentenced to death for crimes against the national security of Iran.

'It is not true. All Adnan has ever done is write articles about the repression of Kurds in Iran. He wrote a book about Kurdish history. That is why the soldiers came and arrested him', Ata Hassanpour says.

Together with his sister Serweh he has lived in Norway since 2003. They had to flee from Iran because they were advocating the plight of the Kurds. Other members of the family have moved to Kurdistan, Iraq. Adnan Hassanpour stayed in his hometown of Mariwan, where he worked as a journalist at the weekly magazine ‘Aso’. The magazine was closed by the Iranian authorities in August 2005. On 25th January this year, Adnan was arrested by six agents from the Iranian Intelligence Agency.

In isolation for two months
Ata Hassanpour, my cousin is to be hanged in Iran

Kurdish journalists Adnan Hassanpur and Hiwa Botimar sentenced to death by the Iranian Islamic regime

"They called and asked him to come outside the house. They arrested him without telling him what his alleged crime was. For two months he had no contact with his mother", Ata and Serweh say.

"Neither Adnan’s lawyer have been informed about the case. They were never told about his death sentence. In Iran lawyers have no real power. They cannot influence the case", Ata says.

He has no faith in the Iranian judiciary. That his cousin received the death penalty nevertheless came as a shock.
"We thought he would get 2-3 years imprisonment. Not that he would be hanged for telling the truth and helping people", Ata and Serweh say.

International PEN writes on their web-site that the arrest of Adnan might have been motivated by an interview he gave to the radio station Voice of America. The arrest has attracted some international attention. Both PEN, who works for freedom of speech globally, and Amnesty International have become involved in a campaign to free Adnan Hassanpour.

Ask for help from Norway

After she received news of the death sentence, Adnan’s sister Leila, who lives in Kurdistan, Iraq, has started an e-mail campaign in order to engage countries and international organisations so that they can put international pressure on the Iranian authorities. Ata hopes that the Norwegian authorities will help in this campaign, and call for the death sentence to be revoked.

"It is terribly difficult to be sitting here in Norway without being able to do anything. I beg of Norway, as a democratic country, to raise this case with Iran. It is important that someone protest against this case", he says.

Nobody knows when the death sentence will be carried out. Ata thinks it will be a date during next week. He has not thought of anything else, since he heard about the sentence.

"My thoughts are in Mariwan. I grew up in the same street as Adnan. We are as brothers", he says.

This article appears in Norwegian (translated by Khalid Khedri) no | adnanhiwa

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