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Iran: Editor of Kurdish-language weekly sentenced to 18 months in prison

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the 18-month prison sentence that was passed on Mohammad Sedigh Kabovand, the editor of Payam-e mardom-e Kurdestan, a weekly published in Kurdish and Farsi, for "upsetting public opinion and spreading separatist ideas." The sentence has only now come to light although handed down on 18 August.

"The fact that it has taken us two months to learn of Kabovand's sentence is a good illustration of the complete lack of transparency with which the Iranian authorities act, especially in the Kurdish part of the country, and the difficulty of getting information from a population that is reluctant to talk for fear of reprisals," the press freedom organisation said.

The sentence was handed down by a court in Sanandaj, in the western part of Iran's Kurdish region, which also imposed a five-year ban on Kabovand working as a journalist. The trial took place in the absence of his lawyer, Abdolfattah Soltani, himself arrested on 30 July on the orders of Tehran state prosecutor Said Mortazavi.

A court in Sanandaj ordered the closure of Payam-e mardom-e Kurdestan on 27 June 2004 for "disseminating separatist ideas and publishing false reports."

... Payvand News - 10/19/05 ... --

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