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Iranian Kurdish Activist Detained


Iranian Kurdish Activist Detained
Human rights monitors are concerned over the detention of Iranian Kurdish teacher and human rights activist Masoud Kurdpour. According to Iran Human Rights Voice, a web-based Iran human rights advocacy group, Mr. Kurdpour was summoned to the offices of Iran's security service in the city of Bokan on August 5th and subsequently detained. In an interview with the Voice of America's Kurdish Service, Ja'far Kurdpour said family and friends fear for his safety:

"On Monday [August 25th] Kurdish prisoners in Iran's prisons started a hunger strike and issued a statement protesting the bad conditions in the prisons and the unlawful treatment and violations of [international] agreements of which Iran is a signatory. My brother is one of the prisoners on hunger strike. Masoud Kurdpour's lawyers have not yet been allowed to see him. Family members who visited him in the prison in Bokan city say he looks very weak and his health is in danger."

In a report released in July, Amnesty International said Iran's government is failing in its duty to prevent discrimination and human rights abuses against its Kurdish citizens, particular women. "Iran's constitution provides for equality of all Iranians before the law," said Amnesty International, "but, as our report shows, this is not the reality for Kurds in Iran."

Among the Iranian Kurdish prisoners of conscience identified by Amnesty International is Mohammad Siddique Kabudvand. In May of this year, Mr. Kabudvand was sentenced, after a closed trial, to eleven years imprisonment for "acting against state security" by establishing the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan and one year in prison for what Iranian authorities called "propaganda against the system."

In it human rights report for Iran, the U.S. State Department noted that Mr. Kabudvand was sentenced in September 2006 to one year in prison for allegedly inciting rebellion.

Vague and unsubstantiated charges like "inciting rebellion," "acting against state security" and "propaganda against the system" are routinely leveled by Iranian authorities against Iranian citizens who seek only to exercise basic human rights, including the right of peaceful, political dissent. The U.S. calls on Iran to respect the rights of Iranian Kurds, and all the people of Iran.
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