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 Iran confirms two Kurdish journalists sentenced to death 

 Source : AFP
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Iran confirms two Kurdish journalists sentenced to death  31.7.2007

July 31, 2007

Mariwan, Iranian Kurdistan, -- Iran's judiciary on Tuesday for the first time confirmed that two Iranian Kurdish journalists have been sentenced to death for being "enemies of God."

Rights groups had reported that Adnan Hassanpour and Abdolvahed "Hiwa" Botimar were sentenced to death on July 16 by a revolutionary court in Mariwan, in Iran's northeastern Kurdistan province.

"Botimar and Hassanpour have been sentenced to hanging on the charge of being mohareb," judiciary spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi told reporters, using a Koranic legal term that is usually translated as "enemy of God."

He added he was unable to confirm whether the sentence had been validated by the supreme court. Jamshidi did not give further details on their crimes.

According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the two journalists wrote for the magazine Aso (Horizons), before it was
banned in August 2005. 

Kurdish journalists Adnan Hassanpur (L) and Hiwa Botimar sentenced to death by the Iranian Islamic regime

Hassanpour published several articles on local politics and gave interviews to foreign media including Voice of America while Botimar was also a member of the environmental NGO Sabzchia, RSF said.

It said that at Hassanpour's closed door trial, he was found guilty of "activities subverting national security" and "spying," while his interviews for Voice of America were also cited by the prosecution.

It said it had no further details on Botimar's trial.

Kurds are believed to form a minority of around several million people in Iran, most of whom live in the northwestern West Azarbaijan and Kurdistan provinces on the border with Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan region.

The border area is hugely sensitive, with Iranian security forces for the past years fighting banned Kurdish separatist parties, in particular Pejak, a group linked to Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Official statements often speak of heavy militant losses as well as deaths on the side of the security forces. Iran has also repeatedly accused the United States of seeking to stir up ethnic trouble in the area.

Iran is bound by treaty with Turkey to fight the PKK. In return, Turkey has pledged to fight Iran's main armed opposition group, the Iraq-based People's Mujahedeen.

Turkey has praised Iran's efforts to crack down on Kurdish rebels linked to the PKK, who have been waging a deadly armed struggle for self-rule in the southeast of Turkey since 1984.

An execution of a journalist is extremely unusual in Iran.

Intellectual Hashem Aghajari, who also wrote for Iranian newspapers, was sentenced to death for blasphemy after saying in a speech in 2002 that Muslims were not "monkeys" and "should not blindly follow" religious leaders.

However the verdict was commuted to five years in jail in 2004, and he was finally cleared of the charges in March 2005.

UN Human Rights Council legal experts earlier this year expressed concern about Iran's use of "mohareb" charges, saying they were usually levelled against persons accused of espionage as well as political dissidents.


Iranian Kurdistan
** Iranian Kurdistan (Kurdish: Kurdistana Īranź or Kurdistana Rojhilat (Eastern Kurdistan) or Rojhilatź Kurdistan (East of Kurdistan)) is an unofficial name for the parts of Iran inhabited by Kurds and has borders with Iraq and Turkey. It includes the greater parts of West Azerbaijan province, Kurdistan Province, Kermanshah Province, and Ilam Province. Kurds form the majority of the population of this region with an estimated population of 4 million. The region is the eastern part of the greater cultural-geographical area called Kurdistan.
More about Iranian Kurdistan

The present leader of the organisation is Haji Ahmadi. According to the Washington Times, half the members of PEJAK are women, many of them still in their teens, and one of the female members of the leadership council is Gulistan Dugan, a psychology graduate from the University of Tehran. This is due primarily to the fact that PJAK is strongly supportive of women's rights. PJAK believes that women must have a strong role in government and must be on an equal level with men in leadership positions.

More about PEJAK- Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan

The Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran in Kurdish (Hīzbī Dźmokiratī Kurdistanī Źran) is a Kurdish opposition group in Iranian Kurdistan which seeks the attainment of Kurdish national rights within a democratic federal republic of Iran.

The current General Secretary of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan is Mustafa Hijri
More about KDPI- Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran

** The use of the term "Kurdistan" is vigorously rejected due to its alleged political implications by the Republic of Turkey, which does not recognize the existence of a "Turkish Kurdistan" Southeast Turkey.

Others estimate over 40 million Kurds live in Big Kurdistan (Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Iran, Armenia), which covers an area as big as France, about half of all Kurds which estimate to 20 million live in Turkey.

Kurds are not recognized as an official minority in Turkey and are denied rights granted to other minority groups. Under EU pressure, Turkey recently granted Kurds limited rights for broadcasts and education in the Kurdish language, but critics say the measures do not go far enough.

Turkey is home to over 25 million ethnic Kurds, some of whom openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK for a Kurdish homeland in the country's mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey.

Before August 2002, the Turkish government placed severe restrictions on the use of Kurdish language, prohibiting the language in education and broadcast media. The Kurdish alphabet is still not recognized in Turkey, and use of the Kurdish letters X, W, Q which do not exist in the Turkish alphabet has led to judicial persecution in 2000 and 2003

The Kurdish flag flown officially in Iraqi Kurdistan but unofficially flown by Kurds in Armenia. The flag is banned in Iran, Syria, and Turkey where flying it is a criminal offence" 

Southeastern Turkey: North Kurdistan ( Kurdistan-Turkey) wikipedia     


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