Iran confirms death sentence for Kurdish teacher


Source: AFP

Iran has sentenced to death a Kurdish teacher for membership in a “terrorist” group and possession of explosives, the judiciary spokesman confirmed on Tuesday.

“Farzad Kamangar is accused of membership in a terrorist group and possession and carrying explosives. He was found guilty of ‘Moharebeh’ (being an enemy of god) and sentenced to death,” Ali Reza Jamshidi told reporters.

He added that Kamangar along with two other unnamed people were also sentenced to a 10-year jail term for the possession of explosives.

“The defendants have lodged an appeal and the case is being reviewed at the supreme court,” he said.

New York-based rights watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) had said in February that Kamangar had been sentenced to death for links with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought a deadly insurgency against Turkey.

HRW called for the death sentence to be revoked and also alleged that Kamangar was tortured and subjected to an unfair trial.

Tuesday’s announcement was the first time Iran has confirmed the death sentence.

According to rights groups, Kamangar, a teacher in the town of Kamyaran in Kordestan province, had been arrested in July 2006.

Iran has been battling separatist rebels of the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), which is linked to the PKK, in its western Kurdish-populated areas over the last years.

In April a local court in Kordestan province upheld a death sentence for Kurdish activist, Hiva Botimar, convicted of having links with the PKK after the Supreme Court quashed the original hanging verdict.

In December, Iran charged two Kurdish women rights activists with taking part in “terrorist” actions and belonging to PJAK.