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 Iran: Mother of Kurdish journalist on death row speaks 

 Source : AKI
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Iran: Mother of Kurdish journalist on death row speaks  14.8.2007

August 14, 2007

Tehran, -- The mother of a Kurdish journalist on death row in Iran has begged her son to halt a hunger
strike he and his colleague, also sentenced to death, have been staging for over a month.

Haj Khanoum the mother of Adnan Hassanpour, said after visiting him in prison in Sanandaj (SINA), capital of Iran's Kurdistan region.

"During our meeting which lasted just over 30 minutes, my son was very pale and he was shaking. He has lost much weight since he and (his cousin and fellow Kurdish journalist) Abdolwahed Hiwa Boutimar started refusing food 32 days ago", Khanoum said.

Butimar was arrested in late December 2006 while his cousin Hassanpour was detained by police a month later.      

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

According to Amnesty International, they were reportedly held by the Ministry of Intelligence before being transferred to Mariwan prison and sentenced to death on charges of espionage on July 17.

The death sentences against the two journalists prompted protest around the world and has triggered a diplomatic row between Italy and Iran.

Two weeks ago the Foreign Ministry in Rome summoned an Iranian diplomat to protest against a series of recent executions in Iran as well as the death sentences against the Kurdish journalists.

Iran replied by saying Italy must not interfere in the Islamic Republic's internal affairs.

"Adnan and Hiwa were casually informed they had been sentenced to death 15 days after the end of their trial which neither they nor their lawyers were allowed to attend", Khanoum said.

She said her plea to Adnan to end his hunger strike had been in vain.

"He told me that as long as the authorities refuse to hear his and Hiwa's complaints, they will refuse to eat".

Hassanpour, who writes for the Kurdish weekly ASO, and Boutimar, a publicist and environmental activist, want their sentences to be suspended and a new trial to be held, this time in the presence of their lawyers.

They also asked to be transferred from the high-security prison of Sanandaj to another prison in Mariwan where they would be closer to their families.

An international campaign is underway to save the journalists' lives led by Amnesty International and Reporters without Borders.

In Italy, where the government is leading attempts in the United Nations Security Council for a worldwide moratorium on capital punishment, numerous parliamentarians and activists have also spoken out on behalf to the two journalists.

Amnesty International has appealed to human rights supporters around the world to urge the Iranian government to suspend the death sentences and hold a new trial for the men.

"Proceedings before Revolutionary Courts in Iran do not meet international standards for fair trial," Amnesty said in a statement.

"The penal code contains a number of vaguely-worded provisions relating to association and 'national security' which prohibit a range of activities , including those connected with journalism or public discourse."

Iran has executed over 150 people so far this year, compared to the 177 put to death over the whole of 2006.

adnkronos com

Iranian Kurdistan
** Iranian Kurdistan (Kurdish: Kurdistana Îranę or Kurdistana Rojhilat (Eastern Kurdistan) or Rojhilatę 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    


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