Thursday, April 06, 2006

Fake Charges Against Kurdish Activists

Samnak Aghiae, Rooz Online:
The situation of imprisoned human rights defenders in Kurdish provinces is rapidly deteriorating. Imprisoned activist Zeynab Bayazidi is now on a hunger strike. During the last days of the Iranian New year, ending on March 20th, a number of women and human rights activist were arrested and jailed by government's security agents in the Kurdish town of Mahabad. READ MORE

When Sarveh Kamkar, another Kurdish activist was kidnapped by security agents three months ago, Bayazidi put in a tremendous effort to find information on her whereabouts, her trial and interrogations. In her letters to local officials, she had requested officials to grant her permission to hold gatherings for Kamkar's kidnapping. But she herself was later arrested and accused of writing letters to government officials and releasing statements to invite women to protests. In short, inciting the public.

Another activist, Heyman Mahmoudi too was eventually arrested on March 26th following repetitive court summons. He was sentenced to two years in prison. Among his other charges are participating in mass demonstrations and protests, propaganda against the Islamic regime and contacts with Kurdish dissidents.

Saman Rasolpour is another imprisoned activist in the Kurdish provinces who is serving a two-year prison sentence for illegally moving between Iran and Iraq. After three months in jail, the situation of Saman Rasolpour and Gafour Mohammadi is still unknown. The two activists are both accused of conducting interviews with Kurdish and foreign media.

In recent years, human rights and civil activities in Kurdish provinces have opened a new chapter in the history of the harsh treatment of activists by agents of the Islamic regime. Government security officials have during the last months kidnapped arrested and imprisoned such activists in undisclosed locations. They have also exerted enormous pressure on these human and civil rights activists by opening trumped up judicial files for them.

Cooperation with opponents of the Islamic regime, giving interviews to the Persian media outside the country and spying are among the main accusations brought up against these activists.

These judicial files have impacted the level of information that is published on the situation of Kurdish activists, their imprisonment and government's security crackdown, according to a Kurdish activist who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of official reprisal. The accusations have created an atmosphere of fear that limits human rights and civil activities. Yet, it is clear that no one will support the judiciary files against them.