Source: Amnesty International
Journalist Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand has been on hunger strike since 26 May 2012 in Tehran’s Evin Prison in protest at the Iranian authorities denial of his repeated requests to visit his gravely-ill son. Mohammad Saqid Kabudvand is a prison of conscience.
Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand’s son Pejman has been ill since January 2012 with an undiagnosed condition that is apparently affecting his kidneys and blocking veins in his legs. Since learning of his son’s illness, Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand has been allowed to visit him in hospital only once, for two-and-a-half hours, in February 2012.. Prison leave for family visits of this kind is permitted under Iran's Prison Regulations, and is usually granted. Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand may have been denied such permission to visit his son to pressure him to stop the activism he has continued from inside prison through open letters to officials.
Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand’s own health has deteriorated as a result of his hunger strike. The prison medical official and doctors have recommended he be transferred to a hospital for appropriate care. Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand refused to be transferred, as he was to be handcuffed, and was concerned that he would be forcibly fed, intravenously or otherwise, in hospital. He is now receiving daily injections from the prison doctors that are supposed to support his weakened kidneys.
Mohammad Saqid Kabudvand, who founded the NGO Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan, was arrested on 1 July 2007 and is serving a 10-and-a-half year prison sentence arising from his journalism and human rights work.
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In an open letter dated 27 May 2012, Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand wrote “the Prosecutor and the security apparatuses continue to deny me [prison] leave because of their enmity, grudge and malice towards me as a human rights activist; this despite my having served half of my illegal and unjust prison sentence and my son’s incurable diseases and acute emergency situation . . therefore, to protest the illegal and inhumane behaviour of these judicial and security officials, I once again have launched an indefinite hunger strike as of 9 PM, Saturday 26 May 2012”.
Following his arrest on 1 July 2007, Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand was initially held in Section 209 of Evin Prison, believd to be under the control of the Ministry of Intelligence. He spent 40 days in solitary confinement, and has said that he was interrogated while he was blindfolded and his hands and feet were bound. He went on an eight-day hunger strike in protest at the conditions under which he was held and interrogated, during which time prison authorities told him that if he needed to use the toilet, he had to seek formal permission in writing. This exacerbated an existing kidney complaint.
Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand passed out for about 30 minutes on 19 May 2008. He was given first aid by another prisoner who is a doctor. His fellow prisoners called for help and asked guards to take him to the prison clinic, but they left him in his cell. The following day, he was forced to attend a scheduled trial session. Though the session was cancelled when a representative from the Prosecutor’s Office failed to appear, the trial judge ordered that Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand should receive appropriate medical care in a hospital outside Evin Prison. Despite this, Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand was not allowed to seek treatment in a hospital but instead received medical attention at the prison’s medical facility.
Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand was transferred to hospital outside Evin Prison on 9 January 2012. According to his wife, Parinaz Baghbani Hassani, during a prison visit on or about 30 December 2011, Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand said he had been feeling dizzy. She told Amnesty International that he had phoned her on 10 January to say that he had been taken to hospital for medical tests the previous day. These included a prostate examination, blood tests and cardiovascular tests. Based on the results of the medical examinations, doctors had recommended admitting Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand to the hospital and performing surgery on his prostate gland. Instead he was taken back to Evin Prison. It is not clear whether he received the medical care he needed.
Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand, a member of Iran’s Kurdish minority, is the founder and Chair of the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan (HROK, sometimes known as RMMK from its Kurdish name). Until 2004, he was also the editor of a weekly newspaper, Payam-e Mardom-e Kordestan, which carried articles promoting the cultural, social and political rights of Iran's Kurdish minority. Payam-e Mardom-e Kordestan was issued with a three-year ban by Iran’s judiciary on 27 June 2004 for “disseminating separatist ideas and publishing false reports”. On appeal to the Supreme Court, this ban was lifted, though the newspaper has not reopened.
Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand was transferred to Mahabad prison, in West Azerbaijan Province, north-west Iran on 16 July 2009. Three days later, he appeared before Branch One of the Revolutionary Court in the north-eastern city of Mahabad, charged with “propaganda against the system” for the publication and distribution of pamphlets about Kurdish women. Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand reportedly told the court that “the materials printed in the pamphlet referred to in the indictment have no resemblance to the literature published by HROK. The materials brought out by HROK have the logo and the address of the organization and we can only be responsible for the materials published on the website of the organization.” No verdict is known to have been issued in this trial.
He was previously the subject of UA 171/07 (MDE 13/081/2007) and follow-ups.
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