Iran: Death sentence overturned, re-trial ordered

English PEN welcomes the overturning of the death sentence against Iranian Kurdish journalist, writer and human rights activist Adnan Hassanpour. Nevertheless, we remain deeply concerned about his re-trial on charges of ‘working for outlawed parties’ and ‘espionage’, for which he could face up to twenty years of imprisonment.


Adnan Hassanpour was arrested on 25 January 2007, and was initially convicted of being a mohareb (‘enemy of God’) and ‘acting against national security’, apparently for expressing his views on Kurdish issues. He was handed down the death sentence, which was upheld on appeal by the Supreme Court on 22 October 2007. On 4 September 2008 his death sentence was overturned by the Tehran Supreme Court on procedural grounds and his case sent back to the lower court in Sanandaj, Iranian Kurdistan. A new trial was due to open on 6 September 2008 on charges of ‘working for outlawed parties’ and ‘espionage’, which carry up to twenty years of imprisonment if found guilty.


Adnan Hassanpour is a former member of the editorial board of the Kurdish-Persian weekly journal, Aso (Horizon), which was closed by the Iranian authorities in August 2005 following widespread unrest in Kurdish areas. He had previously been tried in connection with articles published in the journal. He is a member of the Kurdish Writer’s Association.


English PEN considers Hassanpour to be detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to free expression, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release, in accordance with Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Iran is a signatory.


For more information and the previous English PEN alert on Hassanpour’s case, click here.


Please send appeals:


• Welcoming the overturning of the death sentence against journalist Adnan Hassanpour;
• Expressing outrage at his re-trial, and fears that he is being held in violation of Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and
• Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Adnan Hassanpour and of all journalists and writers detained in Iranian Kurdistan solely for the peaceful expression of their views.


Appeals to:


Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei,
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: or


Head of the Judiciary
His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: via Judiciary website:
Salutation: Your Excellency


Minister of Intelligence
Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie
Ministry of Intelligence,
Second Negarestan Street,
Pasdaran Avenue,
Islamic Republic of Iran.


Copies to:


His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency,
Palestine Avenue,
Azerbaijan Intersection,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: Via Foreign Ministry: 98 21 6 674 790
(mark: “Please forward to H.E. President Ahmadinejad”)
via website:


If possible please send a copy of your appeal to the diplomatic representative for Iran in your country:


His Excellency Mr Rasoul Movahedian
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
16 Prince’s Gate
London SW7 1PT


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