Rights Groups Urge Iranian Authorities to Address Month-Long Hunger Strike of Kurdish Political Prisoners

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Iranian authorities  must  immediately respond  to  the   health and   security  concerns of  27  Kurdish political prisoners on  a  month-long hunger strike in  Orumiyeh, said  22 human rights organizations today. These  organizations also  urged Iranian authorities to  immediately investigate and  remedy the broader set of rights violations these  men  have  allegedly faced  while in detention.

These  Kurdish political prisoners, detained in Orumiyeh (Wermê) Central Prison, have  been  protesting the  conditions of their  detention since  20 November 2014. The  hunger strikers object  to  the  ongoing transfers of political prisoners to wards housing inmates convicted of violent crimes, such  as murder, and  the  simultaneous introduction of such  inmates to  Ward 12 of the  prison, which typically houses only   political prisoners.  Iranian  law   requires  the   overall humane  treatment  of  all  prisoners  and specifically mandates  that  political detainees be  separated from  those convicted of  serious common crime.

“The  primary duty of law  enforcement is to respect the  law.  Unfortunately, prison officials  are  either ignoring  or  misapplying  prison  regulations,” said   Iranian human  rights lawyer and   Nobel  Peace Laureate  Shirin   Ebadi.  “By  failing  to  separate  different  types  of  inmates,  they   have   created  an increasingly tense   environment in  which all  prisoners, regardless of  their   alleged  offenses, receive harsh and  substandard treatment.”

Prison authorities have  tried to  pressure the  men  into  ceasing their   strike by  allegedly resorting to threats of execution, beatings, and  transfer to remote prisons in the  south of the  country, far  from  the Kurdish region in  northwest Iran.  The  prisoners, however, have  communicated to  rights groups that they  will continue their  peaceful strike until their  demands are met.

Recent  reports indicate that  as a result of the month-long hunger strike, several prisoners, including Reza Rasouli, Yusef Kaka  Mami,  Sherko Hasanpour, Sirwan Najawi, Abdullah Omumi and Mohammad Abdollahi, are in critical  condition.

Article 39  of  the  Constitution  of  the  Islamic Republic  of  Iran   prohibits  offenses to  the  dignity of detained persons. Moreover, Iran’s  Prisons Regulations and  Regulations on the  Methods of Separation and  Classification of Prisoners both  require the separation of inmates based on their  class of crimes.

Despite  the   new    government’s  pledges,  the   number  of   ethnic  minorities  and    activists  facing imprisonment, torture, and  even  execution continues to  rise.  According to  right groups Iran  holds at least  900 political prisoners and  prisoners of conscience, including roughly 400 members of the Kurdish community.

Rights groups maintain that  the  detentions of the  27 men  on  hunger strike appear to stem  from  their exercise  of  fundamental  rights,  including  freedom  of  expression  and   freedom  of  association,  or reportedly  follow unfair  trials.   Ten  of  these   prisoners  await  death  sentences for  alleged  national security offenses.

The situation of Kurdish political prisoners at Orumiyeh Central Prison exemplifies the  alarming conditions of prisons throughout Iran.  The  reported physical abuse and  threats to  life  of these prisoners constitute clear  violations of Iran’s  national and  international commitments, including Article 7 of the  International Covenant on  Civil  and  Political Rights, which prohibits torture or cruel,  inhuman or degrading treatment.

“These Kurdish political  prisoners are trying to tell the world that they are tired  of the violation of their rights,” said Taimoor Aliassi, representative of the Association of Human Rights in Kurdistan of Iran-Geneva. “We want  them  to know  they are not forgotten and we demand that Iranian authorities take responsibility for the well-being of these and all political prisoners.”

In  response to  the  ongoing hunger  strike  in  Orumiyeh Prison,  the  undersigned  human rights  and civil  society organizations urge the Iranian government to:

a)   Immediately and   unconditionally  separate prisoners convicted of  violent crimes from political prisoners in Orumiyeh Central Prison;

b)   Ensure that  all prisoners receive any  and  all medical care they  may  require;

c)   Protect all prisoners from  torture and  other ill-treatment;

d)   Investigate the cases of the political prisoners in Orumiyeh Central Prison, overturn death sentences for  offenses that  do  not  constitute most  serious crimes, and  immediately and unconditionally release all individuals held  in connection with their  peaceful exercise of freedom of expression or association.

Ouromiyeh prison

Names of the prisoners

The ten death  row  prisoners currently  on hunger strike: Mr.  Sami  Hosseini, Mr.  Jamal  Mohammadi, Mr.  Behruz Alakhani, Mr.  Ali Ahmad Soleiman, Mr.  Saman Nasim, Mr.  Sirwan Najawi, Mr.  Ebrahim Eis Pour, Mr. Ali Afshari, Mr. Rezgar Afshari, and  Mr. Mohammad Abdullahi.

The other  seventeen prisoners on hunger strike,  who  are serving prison  sentences ranging from  six months to 34 years:  Mr.  Masoud Shams Nejad, Mr.  Sherko Hasan Pour, Mr.  Abdullah  Bislnun, Mr. Yusef Kaka  Mami,  Mr. Osman Mostafa Pour, Mr. Mostafa Ali Ahmad, Mr. Abdullah Omumi, Mr. Wali Afshari, Mr.  Kayhan Darwishi, Mr.  Mostafa Dawoudi, Mr.  Shursh Afshari, Mr.  Khezr Rasul  Merwat, Mr. Mohammad Abdullah Bakht,  Mr. Amir  Molladust, Mr. Ahmad Tamuy, Mr. Jafar Afshari, Mr. Reza Rasouli.

 

Sincerely,

Roya Boroumand, Executive Director

Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation

 

Kamran Ashtary, Executive Director

Arseh Sevom

 

Taimoor Aliassi, UN Representative

Association of Human Rights in Kurdistan of Iran-Geneva  (KMMK-G)

 

Karen Parker, President

Association of Humanitarian Lawyers

 

Mansoor Bibak, Co-Director

Balochistan  Human Rights Group

 

Shirin Ebadi, Founder and President

Center for Supporters  of Human Rights

 

Raphaël Chenuil-Hazan, Executive Director

Ensemble Contre La Peine de Mort

 

Ibrahim Al Arabi, Executive Director

European Ahwazi Human Rights Organisation

 

Kamal Sido, representative

Gesellschaft für bedrohte  Völker Deutchland,

 

Keyvan  Rafiee, Director

Human Rights Activists in Iran

 

Mani Mostofi, Director

Impact Iran

 

Hadi Ghaemi, Executive Director

International Campaign  for Human Rights in Iran

 

Lydia Brazon, Executive Director

International Educational Development, Inc

 

Jessica Stern, Executive Director

International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

 

Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, Executive Director

Iran Human Rights

 

Rod Sanjabi, Executive Director

Iran Human Rights Documentation Center

 

Shadi Sadr, Co-Director

Justice for Iran

 

Mahmood Enayat,  Director

Small Media

 

Christoph Wiedmer, Director

Society  for Threatened  People  Switzerland

 

Firuzeh Mahmoudi, Executive Director

United  for Iran

 

Mohammad Mostafaei, Director

Universal Tolerance

 

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