A peaceful protester is in custody and at risk of torture.

PUBLIC
AI Index: MDE 13/106/2008

UA 213/08
Fear of torture or other ill-treatment
1 August 2008

IRAN

Saman Rasoulpour (m), Kurdish human rights activist, aged 23

Kurdish human rights activist Saman Rasoulpour was arrested on 25 July at his home in the city of Mahabad, in West Azerbaijan province, and is in danger of torture. He is a senior member of an organisation that campaigns for better treatment of Iran's Kurdish minority, the Human Rights Organisation of Kurdistan (HROK), based in the city of Sanandaj, in the western province of Kordestan.

The police confiscated a number of his possessions when they arrested him. He is now held at a detention centre in the city of Oroumiye, in the north-western province of West Azerbaijan. He has been able to telephone his family once since he was arrested.

On 23 July he had taken part in a peaceful demonstration calling on the authorities to lift the death sentences handed down to three Kurdish human rights activists on 25 February 2008. Around 200 Iranian Kurds had taken part in the demonstration.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The HROK, which has over 200 members, was founded in April 2005. The authorities have never granted it official recognition as an NGO. Its founder, Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand, is serving an 11-year prison sentence, imposed after an unfair trial, for "acting against state security by establishing the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan" and "propaganda against the system."

Iran's Kurdish population live mainly in the west and north-west of the country, in Kordestan and neighbouring provinces, bordering Kurdish areas of Turkey and Iraq. They have long suffered extensive discrimination. Kurdish human rights defenders, including community activists and journalists, risk arbitrary arrest and torture.

Parents are banned from registering their babies with certain Kurdish names, and religious minorities that are mainly or partially Kurdish are targeted by measures designed to stigmatize and isolate them. Kurds are also discriminated against in their access to employment, adequate housing and political rights, and so suffer entrenched poverty, which has further marginalized them.

For more information on human rights violations against the Kurdish minority in Iran, see: Iran: Human rights abuses against the Kurdish minority, at: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE13/088/2008/en/d140767b-5e45-11dd-a592-c739f9b70de8/mde130882008eng.pdf

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