Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Families of Kurdish Prisoners Plea for Public Support
Saman Rasoulpour - 2007.08.01

The imprisonment of a family member puts pressure on the entire family. To learn of the conditions of family members of imprisoned individuals, we have conducted an interviews with the families of three Kurdish prisoners: Tonia Kaboudvand daughter of Mohammad Sadegh Kaboudvand, Shahou Aghvami brother of Ajlal Aghvami, and Leili Hassanpour sister of Adnan Hassanpour.
Tonia Kaboudvand is Mohammad Sadegh Kaboudvand’s only daughter. Her father is the director of Kurdistan’s Center for Defense of Human Rights. He was arrested on July 1, 2007, at his office and has been kept in Evin prison’s infamous ward 209 for nearly a month.
Tonia Kaboudvand told Rooz, “My father’s imprisonment has put serious psychological and financial pressure on us. We were unaware of his condition for a long time. We are really concerned now too, especially since he has lung disease. In the past month my mother has gone to court almost everyday to get some information about my father’s condition, or at least get permission to visit him. So far she has been unable to do either. We are also under financial pressure. They have confiscated a lot of my father’s belongings. We can’t even receive his salary. That is why my brother and I are forced to work. We work all day long, from morning until night, and see each other only late at night. When we arrive home late at night we are all tired. The situation is very tough on us. What is harder is that I miss my father so much.”
Shahou Aghvami is Ajlal Aghvami’s younger brother. Ajlal was convicted to 3.5 years imprisonment for conspiracy against Iran’s national security.
Shahou Aghvami had this to say about his brother’s imprisonment: “After my brother’s arrest, we spend most days of the week either in court or in prison. Most of our daily activities are somehow related to my brother’s imprisonment. His arrest has seriously affected my father’s and mother’s health. My mother has heart disease. My brother’s imprisonment hurts us everyday. Even during Ajlal’s previous imprisonment which lasted for 67 days, the last day of his detention was as bad as the first one. Other than that, we have been unable to visit my brother since his arrest on July 9. We have to spend a lot of time and energy just to get permission to speak with him on the phone…. Ajlal has serious medical ailments, his eyes have been infected, and they still haven’t given him the medicine that we took to prison for him. In addition, my brother is being kept in Sanandaj prison’s ward 4 with serious and violent criminals.”
Leili Hassanpour is the sister of Adnan Hassanpour, a Kurdish activist who has been sentenced to death for “Moharebeh,” a charge often applied to those accused of armed resistance to the state. Leili told Rooz, “Unfortunately, my brother’s arrest and the subsequent death sentence for him has affected me so much that I have been unable to care for my 19-month old child. My child is now sick and mostly cared for by my neighbors. This is even harder for my mother, because she suffers from heart and bone disease. Also, Adnan was the person who financially provided for my mother, and now she is under a lot of pressure.
Leili continues, “Until the day my brother is freed we will be worried. Right now most of our worries stem from the fact that we are not aware of Adnan’s condition and whereabouts. Even though our house is always full of guests, it still feels dead. We can hear only my mother’s prayers and crying in the house.”
Leili adds in the end, “The only thing that consoles us is widespread domestic and international support for my brother. We hope that until this verdict is overturned, the public and human rights organization’s won’t leave us alone.”

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