Continued Repression of Kurds in Iran: Arrests, Torture, Extrajudicial Killings


Over the last week, repression of the Kurdish minority in Iran did not abate: Kurds were arrested, tortured, sentenced to jail terms for links to Kurdish groups, acting against national security and even espionage. Two Kurdish merchants were killed by security forces near the Iran-Iraq border and 20 Kurdish prisoners began hunger strikes in Orumiyeh prison and Yazd prison.

Over the last week, at least two Kurds were arrested per day in Iran. Four Kurds were arrested in raids by security forces in Javanrood and ten Kurds were arrested during a rally outside the governor’s office in Sardasht where they protested the extrajudicial killing of a Kurdish merchant on April 4th. During the last week two Kurdish merchants were killed by security forces near the border region. In the regime’s attempt to combat smuggling, its forces freely open fire on civilians that pose no threat to them in a clear violation of international law. Over the last Persian year (March 2009-March 2010) security forces extra-judicially killed 90 Kurdish merchants. This past week, Hayat Ahmadi was killed near Marivan and when security forces opened fire on a group of Kurdish merchants near Bayangan, Amin Mohammadi jumped into a river trying to escape the bullets and drowned.

Courts continued to hand down sentences to Kurdish activists. Amjad Kordnejad, a Kurdish activist studying at Tehran University was given a two year sentence. Mohieddin Azadi, a Kurdish activists was given a four-year sentence in a military court on charges of espionage. A fellow Kurdish activist, Masoud Hossein Panahi, was sentenced to a year in prison for “acting against national security” and “organizing illegal rallies”.

Reports are surfacing about intense pressure being brought by Iranian authorities on Kaveh Kermanshahi and Sama Bahmani, two Kurdish human rights activists. The 14-year-old daughter of Sama Bahmani was expelled from her school for her mother’s activities, despite never being involved in them. At the same time, Kaveh Kermanshahi told his mother during a short visit that she was granted that he is being tortured to force him to confess to charges of espionage, which he flatly rejects.

17 Kurdish political prisoners began a hunger strike in Orumiyeh prison to protest the drug distribution happening in the jail, and were all moved to solitary confinement. Over the last week three Kurdish prisoners also began a hunger strike in Yazd prison to protest against the harassment and mistreatment they are subjected to at the hands of prison guards, the lack of visitation rights and the poor conditions in the prison.