UA 101/07



Incommunicado detention / fear of torture or ill-treatment



IRAN



Hamid Sa’edi (m), 35, Kurdish teacher





Hamid Sa’edi, a teacher, singer and poet from Iran 's Kurdish minority, was reportedly arrested on 22 April by plain clothed officials of the Ministry of Intelligence, in the city of Sanandaj , in Kordestan province, northwestern Iran . He was reportedly summoned by officials to a court, possibly for questioning, where he was arrested. He is currently held incommunicado in a Ministry of Intelligence detention facility in Sanandaj. Amnesty International is concerned that he may be at risk of torture and ill-treatment.



The reasons for Hamid Sa’edi’s arrest are not clear to Amnesty International. However, Hamid Sa’edi reportedly participated in a peaceful demonstration held by about 200 teachers in Sanandaj in mid-March, and in a strike by teachers on 17 and 18 March, both of which were calling for higher pay and better working conditions. It is feared that Hamid Sa’edi may have been detained in connection with these activities.



Hamid Sa’edi is the brother of Kurdish journalist and human rights defender Sa’id Sa’edi, who was detained for over two months in 2005 in connection with his alleged participation in demonstrations (see Amnesty International Appeal Case, AI Index MDE 13/080/2006, July 2006). Hamid Sa'edi was briefly detained in late 2005 or early 2006, following his brother’s release. When Hamid Sa'edi was arrested, security forces personnel confiscated books and two computers from the home he shares with his parents. He was released on bail, on accusations of “acting against national security”. To date, he has not been charged or tried in relation to these accusations.



BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Teachers across Iran have taken part in demonstrations during March and April demanding better pay and conditions. Members of Iran ’s National Union of Teachers have undertaken large, peaceful demonstrations in the cities of Tehran , Kermanshah and Hamedan, each of which resulted in scores of arrests. The reasons for these arrests are not clear. On 7 April, members of the National Union of Teachers in Hamedan met to debate issues of concern when security officials broke up the meeting, arresting the 30 participants and reportedly another 15 people at their homes. All are since believed to have been released. At least seven teachers are currently detained without charge or trial in Tehran , including Ali Akbar Baghani, the Head of the National Union of Teachers.



Another strike took place on 29 April, with unconfirmed reports of arrests of up to 45 teachers in Hamedan and the north-western city of Ardebil . Further strikes are planned for 2 May and 8 May.



Kurds are believed to make up between seven and 10 per cent of the population of Iran . They live mainly in the north-western provinces neighbouring Iraq and Turkey , where the main economic activity is farming. For many years, Kurdish organizations such as the Kurdistan People’s Democratic Party (KDPI) and Komala engaged in armed resistance to the government, but more recently they have abandoned armed struggle for independence in favour of pursuing regional autonomy within a federal system of government, by peaceful means. The more recently formed PJAK, the Iranian wing of the PKK, is currently engaged in armed opposition to the Iranian authorities in border areas close to Iraq .

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