Fear of torture or ill-treatment/Arbitrary arrest and
NEW CONCERN: Death penalty
Adnan Hassanpour (m), Kurdish journalist and cultural rights activist
Mansour Tayfouri (m), Kurdish journalist and translator
New name: Abdolwahed Butimar, known as Hiwa (m), Kurdish activist, Adnan Hassanpour's cousin
Adnan Hassanpour and his cousin Abdolwahed (known as Hiwa) Butimar have been sentenced to death. Adnan Hassanpour, a Kurdish journalist and advocate of cultural rights for Iranian Kurds, was detained on 25 January and environmentalist Hiwa Butimar on or around 23 December 2006, both in Marivan, Kordestan province. They were reportedly held incommunicado in a Ministry of Intelligence facility in Marivan, and transferred to Marivan prison on 26 March.
Following his arrest Hiwa Butimar‘s home was searched by members of the Intelligence Service, who are said to have confiscated items including Kurdish flags, videos in Kurdish and family pictures of a trip to Iraqi Kurdistan. The confiscated items were also reportedly used as evidence against the cousins, who reportedly appeared before a Revolutionary Court in Sanandaj on 12 June, in the presence of their lawyer.
Adnan Hassanpour and Hiwa Butimar were reportedly returned from Marivan prison to an unconfirmed place of detention, possibly the detention facility run by the Ministry of Intelligence in Sanandaj, the capital of Kordestan province, early in the morning of 15 July. On 17 July the men were told that they had been sentenced to death on charges of espionage and Moharebeh (being at enmity with God). If confirmed on appeal, the sentences would then have to be further confirmed by the Supreme Court.
In an interview carried by the online publication Rooz, the two men's lawyer, Saleh Nikbakht, said that Adnan Hassanpour’s charges related to “a phone conversation he had with a staff member of Radio Voice of America”. He also said that Hiwa Butimar had been charged with carrying lethal weapons, although he denied his client had ever done so, and stressed he had not been in contact with any armed group (see: http://www.roozonline.com/english/archives/2007/07/006302.php).
In April, the Mehr News Agency, which is said to have close links with Iran’s judiciary, apparently alleged that Adnan Hassanpour had been in contact with Kurdish opposition groups and had helped two people from Khuzestan province, who were wanted by the authorities, to flee from Iran.
Adnan Hassanpour is a former member of the editorial board of the Kurdish-Persian weekly journal Aso (Horizon), which the authorities closed down in August 2005 following widespread unrest in Kurdish areas. Adnan Hassanpour had reportedly been tried for offences supposedly arising from articles published in the journal. Hiwa Butimar heads an environmental organisation called The Green Mountain Society.
Amnesty International has no information about Mansour Tayfouri.
Proceedings before Revolutionary Courts in Iran do not meet international standards for fair trial. 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 which are permitted under international human rights law.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Using your own words, please choose a few of the suggestions below to create a personal appeal and send it as quickly as possible
- expressing concern that Adnan Hassanpour and Abdolwahed Botimar have been sentenced to death;
- urging the authorities to commute these death sentences immediately;
- acknowledging that governments have a responsibility to bring to justice those suspected of criminal offences, but stating your unconditional opposition to the death penalty, as the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and violation of the right to life;
- asking for full details of the charges and evidence against Adnan Hassanpour and Abdolwahed Botimar and expressing concern that their trial may not have met international standards for fair trial, which are especially important in capital cases;
- asking for details of why Mansour Tayfouri was arrested, including any charges and evidence brought against him and of any trial proceedings, and calling for him to be released unless he is to be charged with a recognisably criminal offence and given a prompt and fair trial;
- calling on the authorities to ensure that none of the three men is tortured or ill-treated;
- calling for Adnan Hassanpour, Abdolwahed Botimar and Mansour Tayfouri to be allowed immediate and regular access to their families, lawyers of their own choosing and any medical treatment they may require.