HROK: Iran puts Kaboudvand on trial again

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Source: Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan

The founder of the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan (HROK) has been put on trial again in Mahabad, Iran, for allegedly spreading propaganda against the Iranian regime.

HROK: On Sunday the 19th of July, Mohammad Sadegh Kaboudvand was tried in the first branch of the revolutionary court of Mahabad for allegedly spreading propaganda against the regime through publications and distribution of pamphlets on the issue of Kurdish women. This is despite already serving 11 years imprisonment.

Mr. Kaboudvand told the court regarding these charges: “the materials printed in the pamphlet referred to in the indictment, have no resemblance to the literature published by HROK. The materials brought out by HROK have the logo and the address of the organization and we can only be responsible for the materials published on the website of the organization.”

Abbas Jamali, the lawyer representing Mr. Kaboudvand, stated:

“Mr. Kaboudvand, the editor of ‘Payam Mardom’ weekly…is known for his audacity as a political personality and journalist in Kurdistan. He has always accepted the full responsibility for his journalistic and HROK activities and has been condemned to 11 years imprisonment for these actions. If he was involved in the publication of the pamphlet, he would own up to it fearlessly.”

Mr. Jamali continued:

“the investigator in charge of the case has requested twice for the charges to be dropped, and on both occasions the provincial governor has blocked the requests. In fact, there is no evidence to prove the charges brought against Mr. Kaboudvand.”

Mr. Kaboudvand was transferred to Mahabad prison from the notorious Evin prison towards the end of last week, and it is very likely that he will be returned to Evin prison in Tehran in the coming days.

Mr. Kaboudvand is a prominent human rights activist that founded HROK in 2005. He was instrumental in creating a civil society network for Kurdish youth and activists in Kurdistan of Iran. He was arrested by Iranian intelligence services in July 2007, and in May 2008 was sentenced to 11 years in prison for:

“acting against national security by establishing the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan, widespread propaganda against the system by disseminating news, opposing Islamic penal laws by publicizing punishments such as stoning and executions, and advocating on behalf of political prisoners.”

In January 2009 Mr. Kaboudvand was awarded the Hellman/Hammett grant given to persecuted writers by Human Rights Watch, and in April 2009 he was named ‘International Journalist of the Year’ at the British Press Awards.

Tehran,
Monday, July 19, 2009

Further reading:

Human Rights Watch – Mohammad Sadegh Kaboudvand Awarded Hellman/Hammett Grant

British Press Awards 2009 – International journalist of the year