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EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

A place for discussion and exchanging ideas about Kurdistan issues here, also a place for sharing article & views and analysis about Kurdistan .

EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Jan 31, 2021 1:17 am

More than 90 arrested in Eastern Kurdistan

Kurdistan Human Rights Association reported that more than 90 people were arrested in Eastern Kurdistan in the last two weeks

Kurdistan Human Rights Association (KMMK) stated that with the arrest of 4 environmentalists, the number of those arrested in the last two weeks increased to 92.

According to KMMK, Iran's ideological army, Revolutionary Guards and intelligence forces carry out operations against human rights activists, environmentalists and civil activists in Eastern Kurdistan.

KMMK said that these operations were violent and took place without even legal permissions, adding, “where they are held is not known” based on their families’ statements.

KMMK said, "The violence committed by the intelligence services and the confidentiality of the prisoners' whereabouts have caused serious concerns about their health and safety."

According to KMMK, which states that some families can make phone calls with their children, even if it is short, and Kurdish is not allowed, 13 people were detained in Mahabad, 24 in Bokan, 10 in Naghada, 8 in Piranshar, 9 in Marivan, 7 in Sena, 5 in Kermanshah, 6 in Sarv Abad-Hewraman, 3 in Rabat, 4 in Saqiz and 1 person in Ilam.
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EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Feb 03, 2021 3:42 am

Sick Kurdish prisoner being tortured

Iranian authorities are torturing a chronically ill Kurdish political prisoner by denying her healthcare to coerce her into providing a videotaped confession, Amnesty International said on Monday

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Zeynab Jalalian, a cultural and women rights activist, is being denied healthcare by Iranian intelligence ministry officials – despite her recent contraction of the coronavirus and a medical scan showing that she had “cloudy spots” on her lungs, Amnesty said.

“The ministry of intelligence is conditioning access to adequate health care, transfer to a prison closer to her family home in West Azerbaijan province and an end of reprisals against Zeynab Jalalian and her family on her ”confessing” to wrongdoing and expressing remorse for her past political activities on camera and agreeing to work with the ministry of intelligence,” Amnesty said.

Jalalian was previously refused medical care after she contracted the coronavirus at a Tehran prison, despite being in a critical condition.

“This intentional denial of health care is causing her severe pain and suffering, particularly as she has serious medical conditions, including post-Covid 19 breathing difficulties,” the human rights organisation said, calling for her immediate release.

Jalalian was detained in 2008 for her alleged membership to the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), an Iranian Kurdish armed opposition group – charges she has denied. Four officers “violently kicked her and removed her from the bus” that she was travelling in between Kermanshah and Sanandaj to arrest her.

She was reportedly tortured by the intelligence ministry soon after her arrest, after refusing to confess to PJAK membership and beg for forgiveness on camera.

Initially sentenced to death by a revolutionary court in Kermanshah for “enmity against God” in 2008, her sentence was reduced to life imprisonment in 2011 by the court of appeal.

One source who spoke to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in 2016 stated that “although Ms. Jalalian’s activism and activities were supported by the PJAK, there is no evidence that she was ever involved, either directly or indirectly, in PJAK’s armed militant wing.”

Jalalian was held at Khoy prison in her home province of West Azerbaijan for a number of years, but she was taken to Shahre Rey prison outside of Tehran in April 2020.

After going on hunger strike asking to be transferred from Shahre Rey, she was eventually transferred to a prison in Kerman province, where she was held in solitary confinement for three months and denied contact with her family. She was transferred to Kermanshah prison in September 2020.

“Zeynab Jalalian has described the transfers themselves as a type of “mental torture”; each prison transfer has meant adjusting to new prison guards, prisoners and systems,” Amnesty said in its Monday release.

She has also said that she has not been able to take all her personal possessions with her during the transfers.

Jalalian’s lawyer, Amirsalar Davoudi, was also sentenced to a lengthy prison term In May 2019 in relation to his human rights work; she has had no lawyer since.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/020220211
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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Feb 03, 2021 3:50 am

How Iran lured a dissident
from France to execution


In October 2019, Iranian dissident Ruhollah Zam was running a widely followed news site based in France, accompanied by his family and benefitting from refugee status as well as security in his country of exile

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But just over a year later, on December 12, 2020, Zam was hanged in Iran, an execution that prompted international condemnation.

How had Zam gone from the relative comfort of his life in France to meeting his death aged just 42 at the hands of the hangman in his home country, whose leaders he had targeted in his work?

His father Mohammad Ali Zam is a cleric still based in Iran and was, at one time, a senior figure in Iranian cultural institutions.

So fervent was his support of the 1979 Islamic Revolution that ousted the Shah that he named his son after its founder, Ruhollah Khomeini.

Colleagues and friends of Ruhollah Zam in France told AFP that he had made the mistake of being lured into a trip to Iraq in October 2019, defying their warnings of danger and falling into a trap set to exploit his own character.

"He played a dangerous game by going to Iraq and he lost," said Mahtab Ghorbani, a Paris-based Iranian writer and a refugee who worked with Zam.

"He was dragged into a dirty psychological game designed by this regime."

'No red line'

Resident in France for almost half a decade, Ruhollah Zam had attracted up to two million followers to his Telegram channel Amadnews, encouraging people to turn out in protests during the winter of 2017-2018 and also publishing sometimes sensational allegations about the Iranian leadership.

As the privileged child of an influential father, Zam enjoyed good contacts in Tehran which he held onto even after leaving the country following the 2009 protests over disputed elections.

He first went to Malaysia and Turkey, and then France.

"When there were turf wars between people in power, they turned to Zam," said Maziyar, a friend and fellow Iranian refugee, who worked on Amadnews and asked that his full name not be published.

"He delivered information without limits, he had no red line, he respected neither the president, nor the supreme leader, nobody. He even laughed at his own father."

But the success of Amadnews and Zam's own growing radicalism proved their undoing as Telegram suspended the account for inciting followers to use Molotov cocktails against police.

Zam's influence appeared to be waning. Even friends began to question if he was pushing too hard for the overthrow of the Iranian regime.

'Alone and isolated'

"Ruhollah became really well known. He advocated the overthrow of the regime and maybe he started to think of himself as a leader," said Hassan Fereshtyan, a Paris-based lawyer who assisted Zam.

"Bit by bit, he lost his friends," he said.

"He was alone and isolated, and part of the Iranian opposition in exile did not trust him," added Ghorbani.

He was also receiving an increasing number of threats, which prompted French police to give him protection.

His friends said this was a dark time for Zam, a hugely ambitious man who feared that the media presence he had built up so fast was now rapidly losing clout.

"He was in the position where he could make bad decisions and fall for the trap," said Maziyar.

In mid-October 2019, he appeared at Fereshtyan's Paris office and told the astonished lawyer that he was going to travel to Iraq to conduct an interview with Ayatollah Ali Sistani, one of the most influential figures in Shia Islam.

'It's the end'

This interview was supposed to launch a new television channel suggested by an individual claiming to be an Iranian businessman.

His associates immediately sensed the danger, given the security influence Iran has in Iraq, a majority Shiite country, following the 2003 US invasion.

"I shouted, I told him: 'If you go, it's the end, you will never come back to France!'" said Fereshtyan.

And even though Zam gave no indication of when he planned to go, he took the plane to Amman and then onwards to Baghdad the next day.

"Everyone advised him against leaving, even his bodyguard, but he simply replied that he was tired of waiting," added Maziyar.

"And he went. Sadly."

Zam telephoned his wife from Amman airport but he appears to have been apprehended as soon as he arrived in Baghdad.

He was later blindfolded, put into a car and driven to the Iranian border in footage later seen on Iranian state TV.

His detention inside Iran saw him in July 2020 give an interview to state TV, a method used on prisoners in Iran that activists regard as a forced confession extracted by torture.

Sitting in a deep armchair, he was interviewed on the programme "Without Compliments" by Ali Rezvani, officially a journalist for state broadcaster IRIB but who campaigners say is actually an interrogator for the Revolutionary Guards.

'Sow panic'

Zam was convicted of charges including "sowing corruption" and spying for foreign intelligence including France and Israel, accusations vehemently denied by him and his supporters.

His execution on December 12 came just four days after the confirmation of the supreme court's verdict was announced, a haste that is unusual.

His father wrote on his Instagram account that he was allowed to meet his son a day before the execution, about which he said Ruhollah had been kept in the dark.

His daughter Niaz wrote on social media that her father had called on WhatsApp -- inexplicably from a +44 UK number -- hours before his execution.

"I knew that was it, and the hardest thing was that I knew and I could not do anything about it!" she wrote.

Still in grief, the family declined requests for interviews from AFP through their lawyer.

The United States and Europe expressed outrage at the execution while UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said there were "serious concerns" that Zam's capture outside of Iran "could amount to an abduction".

But Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said he did not believe the killing would harm relations between Iran and Europe, noting that capital punishment is part of Iranian law.

And for dissidents based in France, the execution was a warning that their security cannot be guaranteed even while outside the country.

"With this execution, they wanted to send a message to the loyalists of the regime not to take another path," said Ghorbani. "And also to show opponents outside of Iran their power and sow panic among them."

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/02022021
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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Feb 03, 2021 3:56 am

Iran puts to death another Baluchi prisoner

Iranian authorities put to death another Baluchi prisoner in the early hours of Saturday morning, raising the number of those executed in the past two months to nearly 30, despite calls by the United Nations Human Rights office and Amnesty International to halt the executions

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Javid Dehghani Khald was detained on June 5, 2015 and disappeared into Iran’s network of prisons. Authorities did not inform his family for three months, “thereby subjecting him and his family to the international crime of enforced disappearance,” Amnesty International said in a statement on January 28.

He was charged with enmity against God by cooperating with anti-establishment groups in the killing of two Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) personnel on April 9, 2015 in Khash in Sistan and Baluchestan province.

Mizanonline, the news agency of Iran’s judiciary, claimed Khald was known as Mohammad Omar and a leader of Jaish ul-Adl, a Baluchi armed group fighting the Islamic Republic of Iran in eastern and southeastern regions of the country. The agency said that on top of the incident in April 2015, he was also involved in the abduction of five border guards on February 6, 2014. One of the guards was killed. The agency provided no evidence to back the charge.

Amnesty International said authorities extracted a confession from the 31-year-old in a “grossly unfair” trial by subjecting him to severe torture, including pulling out his thumb nails.

Khald was hanged in the early hours of Saturday morning in Zahedan prison. He is the seventeenth known prisoner to be executed from the oppressed Baluchi community in the past two months.

“They executed Javid Dehghani Khald. From Baluchestan, only the sound of the death knell can be heard,” Baluchi activist Habibollah Sarbazi tweeted on Saturday.

Hundreds of Baluchi citizens are detained every year in Iran on charges of cooperating with Baluchi armed groups operating on the borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as drug-related offenses. Baluchi activists say the authorities use these charges as an excuse to silence an ethnic minority that has been marginalized for decades. Sistan and Baluchestan province is considered one of the most impoverished parts of the country with high levels of poverty and unemployment.

“In convicting and sentencing Javid Dehghan to death [May 2017], the court relied on torture-tainted “confessions” and ignored the serious due process abuses committed by Revolutionary Guards agents and prosecution authorities during the investigation process,” Amnesty said.

The UN Human Rights Office weighed in on the issue on Friday, calling on Iranian authorities to halt Khald’s execution. “We strongly condemn the series of executions – at least 28 – since mid-December, including of people from minority groups. We urge the authorities to halt the imminent execution of Javid Dehghan, to review his and other death penalty cases in line with human rights law.”

The execution of Baluchi prisoners comes at a time when Iranian authorities have detained at least 80 activists and students from another oppressed minority, the Kurds, according to Kurdish human rights organisations.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/30012021
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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Feb 03, 2021 2:32 pm

Call for action over arrests of Kurds in Iran

Thirty-six civil society and human rights organizations called on Wednesday for urgent international action to be taken against the arbitrary detention of Kurdish activists in Iran, expressing concern over forced “confessions” gained by torture and ill-treatment

“We, the undersigned 36 civil society and human rights organizations, call for the urgent attention of the international community to an ongoing wave of arbitrary arrests, incommunicado detention, and enforced disappearances by the Iranian authorities, targeting scores of people from Iran’s disadvantaged Kurdish minority,” the letter released on Wednesday read.

They added that they are “seriously concerned that those detained are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment aimed at extracting forced “confessions”, and that these may be later used in grossly unfair trials for spurious national security related offenses.”

Since January 6, at least 96 individuals from Iran’s Kurdish minority have been arrested by Iranian ministry intelligence agents in at least 19 cities, with the highest number of arrests recorded in Bokan in West Azerbaijan province, read the letter. At least 40 of them have been subjected to enforced disappearances.

Tens of thousands of people are held as political prisoners in Iranian jails, for charges including advocating for democracy and promoting women's or workers' rights.

Ethnic minority groups, including Kurds and Azeris, are disproportionately detained and more harshly sentenced for acts of political dissidence. According to Kurdish human rights groups, over 500 Kurdish people were arrested in 2020, out of which four received death penalties and at least 159 were sentenced to prison terms ranging from one month to 17 years.

In 2019, at least 2,000 people were arrested in Iran for joining armed Kurdish forces or for activism deemed suspicious, according to data provided to Rudaw by KHRN founder Rebin Rahmani. At least 500 people were arrested in 2020.

Three Kurdish women activists were arrested in January and transferred to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) intelligence detention center in Urmia. Human rights organizations said they do not know why they were arrested, or if charges have been brought against them.

Iranian forces arrested a Kurdish teacher and a journalist in Sanandaj and Oshnavieh late-January, Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) reported.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/03022021
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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Feb 03, 2021 4:51 pm

Jailed Kurdish academic escapes

A British Iranian dual national sentenced to nine years and three months in jail in Iran for co-operating with “a hostile state power” has smuggled himself out of Iran, escaping over the country’s treacherous mountainous border, and is now living in London

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In an interview with the Guardian, Kameel Ahmady explained he felt had no option but to flee after spending nearly 100 days in Evin prison, including a brutal spell in solitary confinement while he was being interrogated.

“Once I had been sentenced I had a choice of whether I would stay and not see my family and four-year-old child until he was 14, or to risk fleeing,” he said.

Ahmady, a social anthropologist whose research revealed the extent of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Iran, was found guilty of conspiring with hostile foreign powers in November 2020, among other charges, but was released on bail pending his appeal. He was also fined more than £500,000.

He said given how Iranian courts normally confirmed the first judgment and because of the political motivation for the trial, he had not held much hope his appeal would succeed – a view that was confirmed when it was rejected in absentia on Monday.

Ahmady said he did not yet know whether Iranian officials realised he had escaped the country.

He escaped carrying only his laptop and copies of the books and articles he had published, crossing the border through snow 1.5 metres deep and fog, evading Iranian border patrols. Border security has been heightened ever since the assassination of the Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in Tehran last year.

“I am Kurdish by ethnicity and I know some of the routes, but it was very dangerous. I had to try several times,” he said.

Ahmady followed the paths used by mountain porters evading US-imposed sanctions to carry alcohol, car parts, medicine, cigarettes and contraband from Iraq and Turkey. But the routes are hazardous: one smuggler carrying four tyres on his back was recently shot by border guards, while several others have frozen to death.

He said he feared if he had been caught he would have faced more years in jail, but he had to take the risk. “I smuggled myself out of Iran out of despair,” he said. “I felt I had no other choice or option to leave. I was banned from travelling. I had this bounty and this sentence.”

Ahmady is one of a small number of British Iranian dual nationals, including Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who have been arrested in Iran and held apparently for bargaining purposes.

Born in the multicultural town of Naghadeh, populated by Kurds and Turks, in Iran’s West Azerbaijan province, Ahmady left Iran for the UK when he was 18, but returned in 2010 to look after his elderly father.

He was first arrested on 11 August 2019 after returning from a UN human rights conference in Ethiopia, which he attended in his role as an expert on FGM and child marriage. His family made his arrest known two days later.

He believes he was taken by Revolutionary Guards partly due to his research work and also because Iran was looking for British assets to seize as a reprisal for the British marines helping to seize an Iranian ship, Grace 1, off Gibraltar on 4 July 2019. The ship was suspected of breaching EU sanctions by taking oil to Syria.

He was formally accused of trying to secure socio-cultural changes in the Islamic Republic by lobbying to raise the age of child marriage, promoting homosexuality and maintaining contact with foreign powers.

“By the first week of the interrogation, the British ship was released, but I had no access to media. I was in solitary confinement. So the only source of information I had was the interrogators. And one day, this guy just came and he was so happy. He said, ‘Thank you. Thank you very much. We got our ship back. And I think you made a difference here. So thank you for this, but we still really have a long way to go with you.’

“And I said, ‘So what’s that got to do with me?’ He said, ‘Wow, come on. You are British, you are worth a lot. Britain is the cradle of human rights so of course you are worth a lot to them.’”

Ahmady said he had been harassed for long time prior to his arrest after he became a target of the Revolutionary Guards which started to object to his research into FGM, child marriage, temporary marriage, ethnicity, and lesbian, bisexual and gay relationships.

He said his phone was snatched on the street and soon after all his accounts including his emails were hacked. He found himself being banned from speaking engagements or seminars being cancelled at the last minute, especially after he gave media interviews and was invited to give a presentation to a group of Iranian MPs to raise the age of child marriage from 13 to 15.

A bill raising the age was passed by a majority in the parliament but soon after blocked by the legal commission. The actual age of child marriage can fall to nine with the permission of the parent and the court.

He said ever since the spring of 2019, and the start of the harassment against him, he had been preparing himself for arrest. But when it happened the reality was still a shock.

“It is like they have been ready for you for months or weeks. They are very good at it, they are trained as to what to do at different stages. They know what to do, how long to interrogate you and exactly when to do it.

“They started on me in a very, very small room, it’s almost like a grave. You have three army blankets, one as a cover, one to sleep on and one as a pillow. For 24 hours there is a bright shining light on top of your head, a Qur’an, a mohr on which Shias pray, and a phone to contact the guards to take you to the toilet. There is no natural light, and a window in the prison door opens through which they put your food. That is your only communication with the outside world. It is incredibly quiet, and you just become crazy. You don’t know what time it is, and you don’t know what will happen next.

“When you are taken out to go to the toilet, or half an hour’s fresh air or to be interrogated you are blindfolded. And then your interrogation becomes your lifeline, it’s so sad that you want to be interrogated more because that is the only way you can communicate with a fellow human being.

“They were trying very hard to portray me as someone sent off to Iran by the British, recruited by the foreign powers to try to influence certain people in the government.”

Ahmady said that after about a month they moved him to a slightly larger room where he could walk in a circle. “It had a toilet and it felt like Buckingham Palace.”

His case was delayed due to the Covid outbreak. Just before his trial, accusations about his professionalism emerged.

“In the trial Abolqasem Salavati, the judge in many controversial human rights cases, was very condescending, and you could tell from his questioning that he has made up his mind.

“Although he had all my books and research he took no interest in them. In fact he had no knowledge of social science and no experts were present or allowed to provide professional opinion. The only things that concerned him were my dual nationality, the number of years I had been in the UK, the universities I had attended. The whole purpose of the questioning was to link me to the west and my infiltration as part of a bid to change the Islamic way of life.

“At one level I knew I was in trouble. There was a time in prison when my chief interrogator came down the corridor – I knew it was him from the sound of his steps – and he was smacking his lips. He said, ‘Kameel you are delicious. First you are a Kurd, second thing you come from Sunni background, most importantly you are British and researching sensitive subjects. We can bargain with you. You know how it works.’”

But he said he still thought he would get away with a warning or some sort of suspended imprisonment.

But Salavati found him guilty and his judgment, released by Ahmady, shows quite how ideologically the regime was opposed to his work on FGM and early child marriage and how convinced they were that he was working for hostile powers.

Salavati said Ahmady had taken courses at universities where “subversive institutes and centres relevant to spying services organised these courses”. It was possible, Salavati said, “that the spying services invested in people like Kameel Ahmady, educating and training them to penetrate in the Islamic Republic of Iran many years later”.

By holding campaign meetings with Iranian MPs trying to raise the age of child marriage, Salavati found Ahmady had sought to undermine Iran.

Salavati said in his judgment: “Generally, it can be said that increasing the age of marriage for children is one of the strategies of the enemy for weakening and ruining the family system; and that Mr Kameel Ahmady is one of the leaders in the implementation of this strategy in Iran.”

Ahmady said: “When I was told the length of the sentence I thought it was a joke. I never thought they were going to hand out 10 years. Everybody was shocked.

“At first I was adamant I was not going to leave. I have been a fighter all my life but now I must change my battleground. I just thought what am I going to do?

“I knew if I was caught trying to escape it would be open to all sorts of interpretation that I was who they said I was, I was being rescued by a foreign power, I was transferring data abroad.”

He said he now wanted to become a voice for those in rural communities of Iran, the dispossessed, the people of ethnic and religious minorities. At the same time he would like to have a role in helping create a dialogue.

He said: “The Islamic regime is run by a small minority, the so-called hardliners, but that generation of leaders are dying out.

“Most people, those not making a living from high politics, corruption, are not reformers or fundamentalists but people who want to see change. There is a hint of hope after the years of hardship and sanctions that have brought people to their knees and crippled the economy.

“If negotiations restart, it’s very important that Iranian civil society and opposition groups are heard on issues like human rights. Nothing good ever came out of conflict and fanaticism, and I say that from personal experience.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/ ... eel-ahmady
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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Feb 06, 2021 5:21 pm

Nature of Eastern Kurdistan under attack

The nature of Rojhilat Kurdistani, known for its beauty, greenery, water and fertility, is under attack

The nature of Rojhilat Kurdistani(Eastern Kurdistan, Iran) is a great blessing to its inhabitants; It is a generous basin with its beauty and abundance.

The fresh air of the Hawraman highlands, blood red pomegranates, Marivan's vineyards, gardens, orchards and Zirebar Lake dressing the city like a bride, are indeed like a prize. The water, air and natural fountains of Saqiz plateaus take you to the real world. Saqiz is like the places where milk and honey flows, which are mentioned a lot in those holy books. Only those who see it can talk about the beauty of the Shaho and Kosalan mountains.

What about the vineyards of Serdesh, and the red apples of Urmia, the place where Zarathustra was born illuminating humanity.

The vast fields, steppes of Selmas and Xoy, historical places of Kermanshah left from the Achaemenids ... Siyaw Chemane (a style of singing by ethnic Kurds) sung in the Hawrami language makes these things only more beautiful. It is not enough to describe Eastern Kurdistan's land, its air and its beauties. You must go and live.

Confronting a system that cannot tolerate all these beauties is another issue. There is also the evil of the darkness that considers the natural life of Zoroastrianism, its cleanliness, and the philosophy of co-existence with nature as an enemy. In this regard, the struggle carried out by both environmentalists and guerrillas is a war of good against evil.

Last year, fires were started in many parts of Rojhilat Kurdistani. The Zagros Mountains were burned down. Oak trees are dense in Zagros and are among the trees with the deepest roots.

By burning trees, Iran gives the message that "I could burn the history, resistance and roots of these people as I burned oak trees". Rejecting this, environmentalists and ecomentalists worked very hard to extinguish the fires.

Ümit, Şerif and their friends from Marivan burned to death while trying to put out the fires in the village of Pile and Salasi on August 25, 2018. According to the people, their killer is the state.

Sadun Mirzade from Marivan stated that the suspicious deaths of well-known people who protect the ecology are not limited to Şerif Bacwer and his friends. Muxtar Xendanî, Bilal Emini and Yasin Kerimi who lost their lives while trying to extinguish the fire that broke out in Pawe on June 28 were burned while trying to extinguish the fire that broke out on the road of protection.

One of the natural destructions that we come across as a state policy in the region is to pave the way for the people to cut trees. In the great economic crisis, one of the jobs that the poor people who cannot find their daily bread do to earn their living is to sell the coal they call Zuxal. Of course, tree cutting is increasing in order to produce coal. These trees are burned, and coal is made.
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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Feb 09, 2021 9:55 pm

Kurdish man tortured and
killed by Tehran police


A young Kurdish man was tortured and killed three days after being detained by police in Tehran, the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) reported on Tuesday

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Mehrdad Taleshi, 20, who lived in Tehran and was from Divandarreh in Kurdistan province, was arrested on February 1 on suspicion of possessing drugs, Hengaw Organization for Human Rights also said on Tuesday. His corpse was taken to a hospital three days later.

Police told Taleshi's family that he had a heart attack, but his body showed signs of torture, KHRN said.

Taleshi's family said the young man, an athlete, had no criminal record or history of drug use.

In less than a month, Iranian authorities have arrested nearly 80 people in Kurdish cities, a human rights watchdog reported. The arrests come as monitors have raised concern about a spike in arrests and executions of minorities in the Islamic Republic.

Two Kurds, Wahid Sheikh Mohammedi and Fardin Bayazidi, were arrested on unknown charges by Iranian security forces in the town of Oshnavieh in late January and taken to an unknown location, KHRN reported.

Human rights watchdogs have also documented tens of executions in late 2020 and into this year. Within one month, 26 people were executed, including a woman, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), an NGO that monitors human rights violations across Iran.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/090220212
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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Feb 16, 2021 1:34 am

Convicted Kurdish language teacher

A Kurdish language teacher and social activist sentenced to five years in prison in Iran on national security charges has denied the accusations against her, saying intelligence services gave insufficient evidence to the appeals court

Zahra Mohammadi was sentenced to five years in prison by a Sanandaj appeals court this week. Arrested in May 2019, she had initially been sentenced to 10 years in jail before launching an appeal, where prosecutors had little evidence against her, she told Rudaw’s Fuad Raheem on Sunday.

“After I was sentenced to 10 years in prison, I appealed the decision and the Court of Appeals asked the intelligence ministry to provide evidence against me,” Mohammadi said. “Intelligence gave no evidence to the court of appeal. After two and a half months, at the court’s request, they brought a single picture of me attending the funeral of Jalal Malakshah.”

Malakshah, a Kurdish poet and political activist, died in October.

In a post to Instagram on Saturday, Mohammadi said, “the five year sentence by appeal court without evidence, reason, and with no consideration to the truth is utter injustice.”

She said that she was initially accused of having links to Kurdish parties, but those charges were later dropped and she was convicted of “establishing a committee and group that is against the stability and security of the system.”

Mohammadi is director of the Nojin Cultural Association, an organization whose work includes teaching Kurdish language and literature. At the time of her arrest, the association was teaching Kurdish to hundreds of children in and around Sanandaj, in Iran’s western Kurdistan province.

She was released on a bail of 700 million Iranian tomans (approximately $27,000) in December 2019 after her case gained worldwide attention and the support of Amnesty International.

Mohammadi “has been accused of co-operating with Kurdish opposition groups and charged with national security offences for her peaceful activities empowering members of Iran’s marginalized Kurdish community, including through teaching the Kurdish language,” Amnesty International wrote in its appeal for her release.

She denied having in any way threatened the national security of Iran and claimed that she will appeal the latest decision.

“In the Court of Appeals, two judges approve the sentence, [but] the second judge has not signed it,” she said. “In my case file it clearly states that I am innocent of forming groups that would hurt Iran's security,” saying there were “many contradictions” in the case against her.

Nojin Cultural Association called the court’s ruling “a clear manifestation of an anti-Kurdish dominant discourse” from state institutions.

Since the heightening of US-Iran tensions and re-imposition of US sanctions in 2018, Iranian authorities have tightened the noose on labor activists, journalists, satirists, environmentalists, anti-death penalty campaigners, and researchers, detaining them in droves and sentencing some in trials whose fairness has been questioned.

Tens of thousands of people are held as political prisoners in Iranian jails, for charges including advocating for democracy and promoting women's or workers' rights.

Ethnic minority groups, including Kurds and Azeris, are disproportionately detained and more harshly sentenced for acts of political dissidence, according to a July 2019 report from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran.

In 2019, at least 2,000 people were arrested in Iran for joining armed Kurdish forces or for activism deemed suspicious, according to data provided to Rudaw by KHRN founder Rebin Rahmani. In 2020, at least 400 people were arrested, Rahmani said.

Since the beginning of 2021, at least 128 people have been arrested in Iran’s Kurdish-majority areas, Arsalan Yarahmedi, director of the Hengaw Organization for Human Rights, told Rudaw English on Sunday.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/15022021
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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Feb 21, 2021 3:54 am

Drought threatens Kurdish nomads

Drought is threatening the way of life for nomads in Iran's Kurdish province of Kermanshah

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For winter, a number of families set up their tents in the remote area between Ezgeleh and Sarpol Zahab. Comparatively warm, nomads move to the area during the cold months.

However, shortages in the local supply of water has rendered their ancient way of life increasingly difficult.

To support the continued existence of their traditions in the area, nomads are calling on the Iranian government to provide them with basic services.

“There is no water this year thanks to this drought,” nomad Ibrahim Nadri told Rudaw on Wednesday. “Our tractors have to go get water from other places. They charge us 50,000 tomans for a tanker of water, for 5,000 litres of water.”

“We urge the authorities to resolve this water crisis for us,” he added, also calling on the government to repair roads.

Kurdish nomads in western Iran usually travel with their herds around the isolated mountain region.

It straddles the shared border with Turkey and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The Iranian government strictly controls where the families are allowed to live and herd their animals, determined to stop livestock from crossing international frontiers.

Some in the community worry that changes to their way of life will lead to a deterioration of their culture.

“I do not speak Farsi. We are Kurds and do not want to forget our Kurdish language,” nomad Frishta Nadri told Rudaw on Wednesday.

Link to Article - Video:

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/200220211
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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Mar 04, 2021 11:47 pm

Economic crisis deepens in Rojhilat Kurdistan

As poverty grows in Rojhilat and people are unable to bring home bread, the state decides to spend money in building a police station

Image

A deep economic crisis is heavily affecting Rojhilat Kurdistan.

The crisis is a result of the policy of the state and is hitting people very hard. So hard that many families have literally no bread on their table.

A rough calculation of the expenses for a household gives a clear picture of the situation. The cheapest bread is a thousand toman. A family of 5 consumes 15 bread a day.

The electricity bill reaches at least 35,000 toman per month. Gas can sometimes go up to 180,000. The monthly water bill is 40,000 toman. Costs for a baby are at least 70,000. The price of cheese is between 15 and 20,000 toman. A chicken is 20,000 toman.

Of course, it is not possible to buy meat under these conditions. On the other hand, the situation of a family in which nobody works is deplorable. The monthly social fund given by the state is only 45,500 toman.

According to official records, 70 percent of Iranian workforce is unemployed. Iran has a population of with a population of 85 million. 60 percent of the population live below the poverty line.

The rate of those who committed suicide out of hunger and poverty is rising. Male, female and child suicides are increasing by the day. Statistics show that the number of men who committed suicide in Iran is higher than women. The social crisis is reaching an extreme point.

Despite this picture, the state does not have a project for the unemployed. In fact, the only project the state is carrying out is to build police stations.

Since the people of Rojhilat have a tradition of resistance, they endure even the hardest situation trying to work and frustrate the policies of the state. One of such policies is “agentization”, i.e. the attempt to turn Kurds into informers.

The people of Rojhilat are hardworking and honourable. They collect products such as Gezo (crushing and pulverizing sugar dried on leaves; a food eaten with butter in the morning), Timeswan gum (as a remedy for many diseases such as stomach pain), maso, sumac, and work in vineyards, gardens and livestock.

Collecting is one of the most common jobs in Rojhilat. The people are doing their job as collectors because of the troubles they are experiencing, but when they do it, they are faced with the attacks of the guards.
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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Mar 13, 2021 12:28 am

Female Kurdish activists detained

At least 11 Kurdish women activists arrested over the past year remain imprisoned and detained in Iran as the world marks International Women’s Day, human rights watchdogs said on Monday

At least 33 Kurdish women activists have been detained by Iranian security forces since March 8 last year, according to data provided by the Paris-based Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) on Monday, most detained for political activities, in addition to civil activities and opposition to compulsory hijab laws. Eleven of the women remain in prison, KHRN added.

The Hengaw Organization for Human Rights published the same figures, adding that that Iran’s judiciary has sentenced 11 of them to imprisonment and flogging.

International Women’s Day celebrations are officially prohibited in Iran, yet activists use the occasion to highlight the persecution of women in the Islamic Republic, including gender-based violence, self-immolation, honor killings, and inequality.

This comes after Iranian state media, IRNA, on Monday criticized the west for “double standards” of violence and discrimination against women following a UN report emphasizing on the advances in women’s rights.

Among those imprisoned is Zeynab Jalalian, detained in 2008. She was initially sentenced to death by a revolutionary court in Kermanshah for “enmity against God,” her sentence was reduced to life imprisonment in 2011 by the court of appeal.

Amnesty International, in a report published early February, said Iranian authorities are torturing the chronically ill Kurdish political prisoner by denying her healthcare to coerce her into providing a videotaped confession.

In the same report published by KHRN, at least 94 cases of suicide among women were recorded in the past year, 32 of which were of teenagers. At least 18 were murdered by their family members and husbands for different reasons, seven of which were specified to be honour killings.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/08032021
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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Mar 15, 2021 3:48 am

Activists risk arrest to
end death penalty in Iran


Tireless campaigners are trying to end executions in Iran, one case at a time, despite risking arrest and facing backlash for their advocacy for criminals on death row. Iran executes hundreds of people every year, second only to China

The activists working in Iran’s Kurdistan province work to secure commutation of sentences or releases for people sentenced to death by hanging for crimes including murder. “We have done some work but it’s not enough. Here people believe that you have to be punished with execution,” Aram Fatihi, 30, a civil activist in Mariwan told Rudaw English on Saturday.

“We don’t ask for a pardon or no punishment for someone who has committed a crime, we’re just against execution as a punishment,” he said. “What is important to us is that execution in any situation is not a solution… There should be an alternative.”

In 2020, Iran executed 267 people, including at least four child offenders, according to United Nations figures.

“Iran's high death penalty rate continues to be troubling,” UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran Javaid Rehman said in his latest report.

According to Rehman, in January and February this year, more than 40 people have been executed in Iran. “These figures include a disturbingly high proportion of prisoners from the Baloch minority in recent months. I am especially alarmed that the death penalty is applied for acts that should not be considered crimes, let alone amounting to most serious crimes,” said Rehman.

Pre-mediated murder, rape, drug trafficking, and corruption can carry the death penalty in Iran.

Fatihi says their campaign has succeeded in getting death penalties lifted in about 20 cases in the past two years. Six of the people they campaigned for were executed.

Women’s cases are “much harder” to work on, because society frowns on women convicted of crimes more than they do men, according to Fatihi.

Many women convicted of murdering their husbands had “legally asked for divorce more than 20 times, but because Iran is an Islamic country they don’t take their words into account unless the man asks for it, they were married off as a child, not supported by their families, or they have been assaulted. They’re victims either way because the murders they commit are because they are forced to,” said Fatihi.

Girls as young as 13 can marry under Iranian law. More than 16,000 girls aged between 10 and 14 were married in the first half of the current Iranian calendar year, according to official government figures reported by the UN, which called for urgent reform, voicing concern regarding domestic violence against women, discrimination and “treating Iranian women as second-class citizens.”

Most of the cases Fatihi and his team campaign for are murder or honour killings, cases people aren’t as sympathetic to as they are towards political prisoners. “Even their families don’t support them,” said Fatihi. This is one of their biggest challenges.

In addition to asking for commutation of death penalties, another option is to ask families of victims to pardon the perpetrator, which is allowed under Iranian law, asking for “limitless amount of money” in return for their forgiveness, said Fatihi.

A last ditch effort is to stage a protest at the gates of a prison. “Sometimes up to 1,000 people from different cities” will show up, said Fatihi.

Political-related cases attract the most problems from the authorities. Once, Fatihi said, he and other campaigners were detained for four days and taken to court, but released without charge.

Tehran occasionally announces general amnesties, often to coincide with holiday. This month, Iran has released more than 240 prisoners. According to Iranian media reports, about 249 people were released from Iranian prisons this month and executions are halted for the month of March, which includes Newroz – the New Year.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/140320211
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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Mar 30, 2021 12:00 am

Tehran prisoners granted Newroz leave

Some 4,500 prisoners in Tehran have been granted leave for the Newroz holiday, Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) affiliated outlet Farsnews reported Hashemtallah Hayat al-Ghayb, the director of the province's prisons as saying on Sunday

In Iran, Newroz is a two-week long celebration that begins on the first day of the Iranian calendar month of Farvardin, equivalent to March 21.

Kurdish political prisoner Mustafa Sabzi was granted leave on Sunday, close to seven years since his arrest in June 2014 by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), according to the Paris-based Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN). Interrogated for two months in a security detention center near the city of Urmia, northwest Iran, he was sentenced a few months later to 15 years in prison, later reduced to 10 years, KHRN said.

Two other prisoners, from the Kurdish cities of Saqqez and Mahabad, were also released on bail, after months of detention.

On Sunday, Iran announced that it would be reducing the sentences of or pardoning 1,849 convicts to mark the birthday of the twelfth Shiite Imam Mahdi and the Islamic Republic Day

Every year, Khamenei pardons a number of prisoners at the request of the head of the judiciary on important religious and national holidays. Article 110 in Iran's constitution grants the Supreme Leader many leadership and duty powers, including "pardoning or reducing the sentences of convicts, within the framework of Islamic criteria."

Three renowned environmental experts were among the several thousand people that were given leave for Newroz, according to the US-based Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).

Sam Rajabi, Sepeideh Kashani and Amirhossein Khaleghi were given leave from Evin prison, north of Tehran on Monday. They were amongst eight well-known Iranian environmentalists who were tried in January 2018 on charges of spying for the United States. The following year, they were given jail sentences ranging from four to ten years long.

Human Rights Watch called the trial “unfair”, and said the defendants were not allowed to see the full dossier of evidence.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/29032021
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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:12 am

Iran’s soft power assimilates Kurds

Iran's assimilation policies are applied very delicately. Ecological destruction, cultural genocide, attacks on historical values and Kurdish identity are introduced through assimilationist methods

Efruz Feruhzade from the village of Bahramabad said the following on Iran's policies: “The characteristics of the Kurdish people in the region have been studied and a policy of reshaping Kurdish identity with soft power has been followed.

Iran's policies are not based on a simple denial. Iran gives some opportunities to people by keeping them under control. For example, they can open courses in their native language. There are publications in different languages ​​at local and national level.

Minorities can live their own culture and artistic activities up to a point, but they are not allowed to do politics and are under the control and supervision of the state. In other words, Iran is deceiving the people with prudent politics. It keeps saying to the Kurds: "You have the law, you have every opportunity, so be silent". This situation is an illusion.

PERSIAN IDENTITY IS IDEALIZED

Iran popularizes Persian identity and presents it as an ideal model. There is no official school in the Kurdish language, there is no education in the mother tongue. Kurdish language gradually grows Persian. The Iranian state insidiously makes Kurds prone to Persian identity. Iran does not allow any civil action, willpower and self-expression.

RADIO AND TELEVISION

The Iranian state has been setting up radio and television channels specific to each region to trick the Kurds, who have the strongest opposition power. Although TV channels try to speak with the culture and language of that region, they actually make the propaganda of the state. Kurdish dances are performed, Kurdish songs are sung. News is given in Kurdish. In short, the radio makes all the propaganda of the state in different dialects of Kurdish. In this way, the public reaction is weakened. The main policy of Iran is to try to get results by speaking to its people with a very sophisticated politics. In fact, it destroys the political will.

YOUNG MARRIAGE PROMOTED

A rebellious and resisting youth is always dangerous for Iran. One way to keep the youth away from these thoughts is to make them dependent on the state by paving the way for them to marry at an early age. This makes them dependent on the state. Iran gives loans for marriage. For this reason, it is constantly emphasized in the media that early marriage is a law of Sharia, that marriage should be developed, and if it is not done, it is a sin. Families are putting pressure on their children to get married.

SPECIAL REGIONS

Places such as Sine, Kermanshah and Urmia are among the regions on which the state focuses. Sine has been chosen as the main target. During the Komala resistance, Sine was dominated by the Komala organization. In other words, it is the center of both the revolution and Kurdish literature. The great revolutionaries came out of there, but it is one of the most marginalized places today. Iran tries every way to keep the Sine people away from Kurdishness.

THE STATE IS CONCERNED ABOUT PJAK

The people of Rojhilat (East Kurdistan) are patriotic people. They used to have an emotional patriotism anyway, but now, with the organization of the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK), the political and ideological awareness of the people is increasing day by day. Commitment to PJAK is growing. For this reason, the state is making propaganda against the PJAK organization among the people.”
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