Iran: Kurdish journalist sentenced

English PEN is shocked by the eleven-year prison sentence handed down to Kurdish journalist Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand on 22 June 2008 on charges of “acting against national security” for his Kurdish rights activism. Furthermore, PEN remains seriously concerned for his health, following reports that he suffered a stroke on 19 May 2008 and was denied access to adequate medical care.


According to PEN’s information, Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand, editor of the banned weekly Payam-e mardom-e Kurdestan, was arrested on 1 July 2007 at his place of work in Tehran by plain-clothed security officers. Following his arrest, Kabudvand was initially taken to his house in Tehran, where security officers confiscated three computers, books, photographs and personal documents, before taking him away to the Intelligence Ministry’s Section 209 of Evin Prison, where he is said to have been ill-treated. He spent the first five months of his detention in solitary confinement. His family has been unable to raise the bail that could have enabled him to be freed pending trial. Kabudvand’s trial began on 25 May 2008, and he was sentenced at a closed trial on 22 June 2008 to eleven years in prison by the Tehran Revolutionary Court for forming a human rights organisation in Iran’s Kurdish region.


Amnesty International gives the following background:


‘Chair of the Kurdish Human Rights Organization (RMMK) based in Tehran, Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand, is also the editor of Payam-e Mardom-e Kurdestan (Kurdistan People’s Message) a weekly published in Kurdish and Persian, which was banned on 27 June 2004 after only 13 issues for ‘disseminating separatist ideas and publishing false reports’. Convicted of ‘disseminating tribal issues and publishing provocative articles’ and ‘spreading lies with the intention of upsetting public opinion’ by a Revolutionary Court in Sanandaj, western Iran, Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand received on 18 August 2005 a suspended prison sentence of 18 months, and a five-year ban on working as a journalist. His conviction was reportedly upheld on appeal, but the suspended prison sentence was increased to one year’s actual imprisonment. In September 2006 he was summoned to begin his prison sentence, but remained free pending an appeal against his conviction to the Supreme Court.’

Kabudvand has reportedly written two books on democracy and a third on the women’s movement in Iran, which were not given publishing licences. 

English PEN is deeply concerned about an apparant pattern of repression against journalists and human rights activists in Iranian Kurdistan, which has been ongoing since unrest broke out in the Kurdish areas of Iran in July 2005, and was violently suppressed by the authorities. Several other Iranian-Kurdish journalists are currently detained, including Kaveh Javanmard, Adnan Hassanpour and Ejlal Qavami.


Please send appeals:

· Protesting the 11-year prison sentence against journalist and writer Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand;
· Expressing serious concerns for Kabudvand’s health, following reports that he suffered a stroke and was denied access to necessary medical care;
· Calling for his immediate and unconditional release on humanitarian grounds and in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory;
· Expressing concerns at the apparent pattern of repression against journalists and human rights activist in Kurdish Iran.


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


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


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 also send a copy of your appeal to the diplomatic representative for Iran in your country:


HE Seyed Mohammad Hossein Adeli
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
16 Prince’s Gate


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