|Iran Prisoners Mount Hunger Strike|
Some 200 Kurdish prisoners of conscience in Iran are undertaking a hunger strike to protest against use of the death penalty and the prevalence of torture in detention centres throughout the country.
The individuals involved are spread across a number of locations including jails in Kermanshah, Saghez, Mahabad and Uromieh, as well as Rajai Shahr prison and Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.
Kurdish citizens are frequently detained in Iran for the expression of non-violent opinions. The past three months alone have seen the reported arrests of at least three Kurdish journalists – Saman Rasoulpour, Massoud Kurdpour and Anvar Sa’idi Muchashi – as well as more than 80 people who were apparently rounded up in Bokan in connection with a general strike in July.
Torture and other forms of ill-treatment in detention are prevalent and fair trial rights are systematically violated, including in cases where the accused face possible execution. In October 2007, for instance, the Supreme Court overturned a death sentence against the Kurdish journalist Hiwa Butimar, who is believed to have been tortured in detention, on the grounds of procedural irregularities. It returned the case to the same court in Marivan that had convicted him in the first place and which, in April this year, duly sentenced him to death again.
“Iran has a very long way to go in order to live up to international human rights standards,” said KHRP Executive Director Kerim Yildiz. “Rather than suppressing the voices of Kurdish journalists and human rights defenders, the authorities should be encouraging their participation in open, peaceful dialogue in order that they may play a key role in the process of working towards protection of the human rights of all Iran’s citizens.”