Iran: Kurdish teacher's death sentence confirmed

Farzad Kamangar, a teacher, journalist and civil society activist in Kamyaran (in Iranian Kurdistan), has been barbarically sentenced to death for alleged Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) membership, without any shred of evidence.

On Tuesday 27 May the Iranian regime's judiciary for the first time confirmed the death sentence passed against Farzad Kamangar. The death sentence was originally passed by a court in Tehran three months ago. His lawyer is preparing an appeal.

Farzad Kamangar
Farzad Kamangar

Farzad Kamangar, a teacher, journalist and civil society activist in Kamyaran (in Iranian Kurdistan), was sentenced to death for alleged Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) membership.

According to his lawyer, the Revolutionary Court of the Iranian regime passed this sentence against the 33-year-old Kurdish teacher on 25 February 2008 - with the prosecution producing "absolutely zero evidence" to support its case! The closed-door court hearing lasted less than five minutes "with the judge issuing his sentence without any explanation and then promptly leaving the room."

The Iranian regime's security forces detained Kamangar in July 2006, shortly after he arrived in Tehran from Kamyaran. Since his arrest, the authorities have held him in various prisons in Kermanshah, Sanandaj, and Tehran. In a letter written in Sanandaj prison in October 2007, Kamangar gave details about his torture and his family and lawyer have seen clear signs of this when visiting him.

Kamangar's lawyer has said that the prosecution and death sentence are an indication of "discrimination against Kurds" within the judicial system. It is indeed common practice for this regime to condemn journalists from the ethnic minorities - as well as labour and other activists - on no evidence, then to treat them harshly during their prison terms (or while awaiting their execution) and in jails far away from their home town (or even province).

Farzad Kamangar should be freed immediately and unconditionally and those responsible for his incarceration and torture held to account. Help us put pressure on the Iranian regime by sending a protest email to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President.

Iranian Workers' Solidarity Network,
29 May 2008

For further news on the situation of Iranian teachers see the special section.

Iranian Workers' Solidarity Network,
London WC1N 3XX,