UPDATE - IRAN
23 July 2007Two Kurdish journalists sentenced to death
SOURCE: Reporters sans frontières (RSF), Paris
**New case (Botimar) and update to IFEX alerts on the Hassanpour case of 15
March and 30 January 2007**
(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has voiced deep concern on learning
that journalists Adnan Hassanpour and Abdolvahed "Hiva" Botimar were
sentenced to death by a revolutionary tribunal in Marivan, in Iran's
Kurdish northwestern region, on 16 July 2007.
"These death sentences are outrageous and shameful," the press freedom
organisation said. "They show how little Iran is bothered by international
humanitarian law. They also show how determined it is to use every possible
means to silence the most outspoken journalists and human rights
Reporters Without Borders added: "We appeal to the international community
to ask Iran to reverse this decision and to refrain from executing two men
who did nothing but exercise their right to inform their fellow citizens.
Iran is in the process of becoming one of the world's biggest prisons for
Hassanpour worked for the magazine "Asou", which has been banned since
August 2005 as a result of a decision by the Ministry of Culture and
Islamic Guidance. He wrote about the very sensitive Kurdish issue.
At his trial, which was held behind closed doors, he was found guilty of
"activities subverting national security" and "spying." His interviews for
foreign news media including Voice of America were cited by the
prosecution. According to his family and one of his lawyers, Sirvan
Hosmandi, he was transferred to Sanandaj prison on 18 July.
The charges on which Botimar, a contributor to "Asou" and an active member
of the environmental NGO Sabzchia, was sentenced to death were not
In addition, Reporters without Borders denounces the 21 July arrest of Ako
Kurdnasab, a journalist with the weekly magazine "Karfto", by agents of the
Information Ministry in Sanandaj, the capital of Iranian Kurdistan. The
journalist was taken to the ministry's prison after being interrogated by
the fourth chamber of the city court. The charges against him are not
Par ailleurs, Reporters sans frontières dénonce l'interpellation, le 21
juillet, du journaliste Ako Kurdnasab par des agents du ministère des
Renseignements, au siège de l'hebdomadaire "Karfto", à Sanandaj, capitale
du Kurdistan iranien. Le journaliste a été conduit à la prison du ministère
des Renseignements, après avoir été mis en examen par la quatrième chambre
du tribunal de la ville. Les charges retenues contre lui ne sont pas
Three other Kurdish journalists are currently in prison in Iran. Ejlal
Ghavani of "Payam-e Mardom-e Kurdestan", a weekly that was suspended in
2004, was detained on 9 July of this year after being convicted by a court
in Sanandaj of "inciting the population to revolt" and "activities against
national security" (see IFEX alert of 12 July 2007 and others).
Mohammad Sadegh Kabovand, "Payam-e Mardom-e Kurdestan"'s editor and the
founder of a human rights organisation, was arrested on 1 July and
transferred to Evin prison (see alerts of 18 and 3 July 2007). He has not
been officially charged.
Kaveh Javanmard of the weekly "Karfto" is currently serving a two-year
prison sentence. He was not allowed access to a lawyer during his trial,
which took place behind closed doors (see alerts of 23 May and 11 January
With a total of eight journalists currently detained, Iran continues to be
the Middle East's biggest prison for the press and one of the world's ten
most repressive countries as regards freedom of expression in the media.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is on the Reporters Without Borders list of the world's
34 worst "press freedom predators." Since he became president in August
2005, the authorities have cracked down hard on journalists. The situation
is especially fraught in the Kurdish northwest.
For further information contact Hajar Smouni, RSF, 5, rue Geoffroy Marie,
Paris 75009, France, tel: +33 1 44 83 84 84, fax: +33 1 45 23 11 51,
e-mail: email@example.com, Internet: http://www.rsf.org
The information contained in this update is the sole responsibility of RSF.
In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit RSF.
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