The following is a report on the human rights situation in Eastern Kurdistan in March 2016 which has been prepared by the Kurdistan Human Rights Association. It must be noted that due to the Iranian government’s ban on human rights organizations and groups, the report is not complete and it displays a part of the systematic infringement on human rights in Eastern Kurdistan.
With arresting 213 people by Iranian security forces, violating of civil and political rights, infringing on freedom of thought and expression, violating the right to live and to have personal safety, governmental discriminations, desecration of civilians, and torturing prisoners of conscience and violating their basic rights, the Iranian government continued its inhumane attitudes.
According to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.” Also, the Part 1 of Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights stipulates that “everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention.”
Part 2 of Article 19 reads: “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.”
Also, Article 22 of the UDHR states: “Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.” Article 5 of the UDHR reads: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
According to the Universally-recognized conventions on human rights and political and social rights of human communities, everyone and every community has the right to demand and attempt to realize their political, social, economic and cultural rights, no group or assembly is superior to others and everyone should have natural and recognized rights.
During March 2016, there were not any official reports of execution in Eastern Kurdistan. According to reports the Kurdistan Human Rights Association have received, however, some Iranian Kurds were executed in Iranian prisons which have not confirmed by the Islamic regime yet.
According to another report published in March, the death penalty of a Kurdish juvenile named Himan Oraminejad has been approved and he could be executed any time after April 1. Being accused of a murder while he was 17, Himan was sentenced to death in August 2012. He is currently 21 years old and is about to be executed in Sanandaj Prison.
Another Kurdish juvenile named Kiyomars Nasiri who was 17 at the time of the crime was also sentenced to Qisas (death).
Arrests, Summons, Sentencing, Case-Fabricating
During March 2016, some 213 persons in East Kurdistan were either arrested, or summoned to court or security centers, or were sentenced.
- On March 1, security forces arrested Salar Rahmanpanah and transferred him to an unknown location.
- On March 2, Branch II of Orumiyeh Revolutionary Court sentenced two Kurdish citizens named Touraj Esma’eli and Kamran Ja’fari from Orumiyeh to 5 years in jail on charge of acting against national security.
- On March 5, Saqqez Intelligence Agency created a judicial case for a Kurdish teacher named Taher Qaderzadeh.
- On March 5, Fouzieh Hosseini Abadi, 25, and her brother Awat Hossein Abadi, 30, from Saqqez were arrested and transferred to an unknown location by Iranian security forces.
- On March 5, 8 persons including Vali Sharifinia, Reza Ezzat Taj, Mohammad Royan, Farouq Shafahi and Saber Rasoulpour were arrested in Oshnaviyeh.
- On March 7, a Kurdish poet named Jalil Mohammadi was arrested by Sanandaj Intelligence Agency forces.
- On March 7 one day before the International Women’s day, Sanandaj Intelligence Agency summoned 8 civil activists including Simin Chayichi, Ghaleb Hosseini, Mozaffar Salehnia, Fuad Zandi and Khaled Hosseini.
- On March 9, a civil activist named Sho’eib Danesh Pajouh from Marivan fled Iran for a neighboring country. He left Iran due to “harassment and threats to his life” posed by security forces.
- On March 9, 3 Kurdish citizens in Dehgolan, Eastern Kurdistan, and Tehran named Pouya Hossein Panahi, Arman Hossein Panahi and Pouya Moghaddam were arrested and transferred to an unknown location.
- On March 11, security forces arrested Soheila Mohammadi after having created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation in front of her house.
- On March 17, two brothers named Hossein and Hassan Khatouni were arrested in Baneh, Eastern Kurdistan, and transferred to an unknown location. While they were being arrested, their family was beaten by security forces, too.
- 23 participants in Newroz Ceremony of Sanandaj were arrested. 4 of the arrestees named “Shahla, Jahangir, Mokhtar and Jahanbakhsh Vakili are members of Farhad Vakili family, the prisoner of conscience who executed by Iran a few years ago. Sara Milani, Ladan Sohrabi, Akbar Gweili (former prisoner of conscience) and Masoud Mohammadi are also among those who were arrested.
- On March 24, 15 Kurdish citizens from Bokan, Eastern Kurdistan, were arrested and transferred to an unknown location due to their participation in Newroz Ceremony in Kewarash tourist attraction. Kamel Faqeh Ahmadi, Rebwar Pejgol, Fakhraldin Ahmadi and Soleiman Karimi are among the arrestees.
- On March 24, a Kurdish citizen named Sa’id Naderi from Eivan, Ilam, was arrested and transferred to an unknown location by Iranian security forces.
- On March 27, dozens of Kurdish citizens from Marivan were arrested due to their participation in Newroz Ceremony and celebrating establishment of the Democratic Federation in Rojava and Northern Syria.
- Hassan Amini, a Shari’a Judge and a well-known political and religious figure in Eastern Kurdistan is still banned from exiting Iran and is summoned and threatened by security centers. This Sunni Mofti has had a judicial case in the Special Court for Clergymen since his arrestment in 2010 which still has not been investigated.
- At Chaharshanbe Suri Night, 143 Kurdish citizens from Kermanshah were arrested due their alleged distribution of dangerous explosives.
According to the latest reports, there are 339 Kurdish citizens in prisons of Eastern Kurdistan and Iran on charges of “political, civil and conscience activities”. The following is the harassment and pressure on political and civil prisoners during March 2016.
- On March 5, the physical situation of Mohammad Seddigh Kaboudvand, a well-known Kurdish journalist and human rights activist who is imprisoned in Section 305 Avin Prison, deteriorated. Despite lack of necessary medical equipment in Avin Prison, officials refuse to transfer him to any hospital outside the prison.
- On March 7, Saman Nasim was transferred to the office security of Orumiyeh Prison under the excuse of fingerprinting. Later, he was transferred to the Iranian Intellignce Agency Office inside the prison where two persons who identified themselves as “staff of the Children Section of the High Council for Human Rights” told him that they had visited him under an order by the Head of the Judicial System of Iran Ayatollah Larijani and in coordination with Orumiyeh General Prosecutor. They urged Saman to do a TV interview with them, which was vehemently refused by Saman.
- On March 9, the health situation of Afshin Sohrabzadeh the Kurdish prisoner in Minab Prison was described as “critical.” Although Afshin is dealing with “colon cancer, internal bleeding and kidney problems”, prison authorities keep refusing to allow him to receive necessary treatment.
- On March 11, Khoy Prison authorities said they would allow Zeyneb Jalalian, the ailing female Kurdish prisoner who is serving life imprisonment, to be transferred to the hospital on the condition of taking one of her family members as a hostage.
- On March 15, Omid Rahmani and Rasould Shokri, two Kurdish prisoners in Orumiyeh Prison were chained to the door of solitary confinement in order to intimidate other prisoners.
- On March 19, Karaj Prison authorities refused to allow Mohammad Nazari, who has served 22 years in jail, to receive necessary medical treatment for his illness.
Workers and Civil Servants
In March 2016, infringements on workers’ rights led to the discharge of 400 labors in Kasra Tile Company and other production units, death of 3 workers, injury of 4 workers, suicide of 3 workers as a result of destitution and unemployment, and non-payment of salaries to thousands of private and public workers.
In the meantime, government officials stated that the lowest number of citizens enjoyed social security benefits were in Kermanshah. It must be noted that Per Capita income in Eastern Kurdistan is half of Per Capita income in the rest of Iran.
- On March 2, dozens of Ilam Blood Transfusion Organization staff had a gathering to protest against the non-payment of two months of overtime work.
- Dozens of household appliances shopkeepers in Ilam had a gathering to protest against the heavy taxes imposed on them by the Department of Finance and stated that they could not afford to pay them. Security forces, in response, threatened to confiscate their properties if they do not pay their taxes.
- On March 3, a group of employees of the Department of Water and Wastewater of Sanandaj protested against the non-payment of their salaries over the last 5 months.
- On March 3, a group of employees of Tajhiz Avarane Teb Company in Kermanshah protested against the non-payment of their salaries over the last 3 months.
- On March 3, a group of employees of the Department of Cultural Heritage in Kermanshah protested against the non-payment of their salaries over the last two months.
- On March 2, municipal workers in Sanandaj protested against the non-payment of their salaries over the last two months.
- Dozens of families under the protection of Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation in Sanandaj protested against the non-payment of the financial aid they were supposed to received.
- With the approval of the City Council of Kermanshah, urban bus fares will increase soon. This increase in bus fares will put more pressure on more vulnerable classes.
- On March 4, a worker named Nasseh fell down from an elevator and lost his life when working in the Municiap Parking of Sanandaj. Nasseh was 30 years old, married, and father of a child.
- On March 5, number of employees of the Department of Electricity in Ilam protested against the non-payment of their salaries of the previous month.
- On March 5, a number of employees of the Health Department in Ilam protested against the non-payment of their salaries of the previous month.
- On March 5, a number of the employees of Pejhan Gostar Bistoon Company protested against the non-payment of their salaries for the four last months.
- On March 5, a number of the patrons of Shahid Rostami Clinic in Kermanshah protested against the related authorities’ refusal to provide them with social security benefits.
- On March 5, a group of employees of the Petrochemical Company protested against the non-payment of their salaries.
- Applicants to Mehr Housing say the buildings promised to them are abandoned half-done.
- On March 5, a number of social security pensioners protest against the non-payment of their legal rights in Sanandaj.
- On March 5, a number of employees of Sanandaj Teacher Training College protested against the non-payment of their salaries.
- On March 5, a number of employees of Nazvin Pipe-Manufacturing Company in Kermanshah protested against the non-payment of their salaries over the last three months.
- Dozens of passengers in Kermanshah protested against a new 45,000 Tomans tariff on their flight tickets to Kish Island.
- On March 5, dozens of shopkeepers in Piranshahr closed down their shops as a protest against the limitations imposed on selling some products.
- On March 7, security forces in Sanandaj broke into the house of a well-known labor activist named Jalil Mohammadi, arrested him and took him to an unknown location.
- On March 8, an 18-year-old Kurdish girl from Saqqez committed suicide. The reasons of her suicide are still unclear. On the same day, a Kurdish citizen named Hamid Reza Maqsoodinejad from Kangavar committed suicide due to the severe economic problems he was grappling with.
- On March 8, dozens of workers of the so-called Bakeri Project in Orumiyeh went on a strike. They protest against the non-payment of their salaries in the last five months by Orumiyeh Municipality which is running the project.
- On March 10, a number of employees of the Etemad Cookies Company in Kermanshah protested against the non-payment of their salaries over the last five months. On the same day, a number of employees of the Gereban Cultivation and Industry Company protested against the non-payment of their salaries over the last four months. A number of employees of the Welfare Department of Sanandaj protested against the non-payment of their salaries on the same day.
- A number of employees of the Agricultural Jihad Department in Ilam protested against their discharge under the excuse of the termination of their contract and lack of enough money for renewing their contracts.
- On March 10, a number of employees of the ID Office in Ilam protested against the non-payment of their salaries for the last two months.
- In Rawansar, Kermanshah, parents of all students have been asked to donate 10-50 thousand Tomans for school fees.
- On March 12, a number of contract workers of the Islamic Azad University of Sanandaj protested against the non-payment of their salaries.
- A number of employees of the Department of Water and Wastewater in Kermanshah protested against the non-payment of their salaries, which were supposed to be paid by March 10.
- Workers of Kermanshah Municipality protested against the non-payment of their salaries in Ghadire Khom Square. Simultaneously, a number of employees of Emam Ali Hospital protested against the non-payment of their overtime salaries in Beheshti Boulevard.
- On March 12, a number of contract employees of Ilam Municipality protested against the non-payment of their salaries over the last three months.
- On March 12, a number of contact employees of the Fifth District of Kermanshah Municipality protested against the non-payment of their salaries over the last four months. Also, a number of employees of the Natural Resources Department of Kermanshah protested against the non-payment of their salaries over the last two months.
- On March 13, a worker of Mahabad Municipality was wounded following a mine explosion.
- On March 14, manufacturing units in Kermanshah and Birjand were shut down and all employees of the industrial units were fired.
- On March 28, a worker named Ghader committed suicide. The reasons behind the suicide of this experienced mechanic are still unclear.
- On March 7, a worker named Jabar Ghaderi from Javanroud committed suicide.
- A married and unemployed worker who could not afford his and his children’s life expenses threw himself in front of a car and lost his life in Kani Kouzalla neighborhood of Sanandaj.
During March 2016, two kolbers from Eastern Kurdistan lost their lives (one sank in a bordering rivers and the other by gunshot from security forces). The Iranian regime is asking for money to return of the corpse of one of the victims.
- On March 28, a 17-year-old Kurdish Kolber named Abdolkhalegh Ghaffari who riding his horse to cross a river on Choman Border of Baneh sank and lost his life. His corpse is yet to be found.
- On March 20, a Kurdish Kolber named Rostam Rostami was killed by the gunshot of the security forces in Haneh Dasht bordering area in Hewraman.
- On March 21, a Kurdish Kolber named Ja’far Ebrahimi from Bokan was shot dead by the Iranian security forces in Darman Abad Bordering area of Sardasht. Based on the information the Kurdistan Human Rights Association have received, Ja’far’s family who have gone to Sardasht to get back his corpse are asked to pay $200 otherwise his corpse will not be given back.
- During March, two more Kurdish tradesmen were shot injured by the Iranian security forces. Over 50 horses and mules of Kurdish Kolbers were also killed by the Iranian security forces.
Based on the information the Kurdistan Human Rights Association have received, some 44 Kurdish Kolbers and tradesmen were shot dead and 21 more were shot injured by the Iranian security forces in the year 2015. Seven more Kolbers either sank dead or died of cold weather.
- In another incident, a Kurdish Kolber named Madeh Partavi from Marivan was shot dead by the Iranian security forces.
- A 29-year-old Kurdish Kolber from Mako was shot injured by the Iranian security forces.
Since Rouhani has become the president, an increasing number of Kurdish Kolbers and tradesmen have been killed by the Iranian security forces. The Islamic regime has no plan to improve the economic situation in Eastern Kurdistan and unemployment rate is skyrocketing. The vast majority of educated Kurdish youths in Eastern Kurdistan are grappling with unemployment.
Killing of Kolbers is intentional murder and there is no law that permits the security forces to kill Kolbers.
- On March 14, a Kurdish citizen named Mehdi Khorasanian from Cham Hendi area of Ilam, who was herding his cattle, was heavily injured from his legs following a landmine explosion.
- On March 14, a Kurdish citizen named Latif Ali Yaram from Dehloran, Ilam, was gravely injured from his legs following a landmine explosion.
Similar to all other bordering Kurdish areas, there are still thousands of landmines in Ilam bordering area, which inflict dozens of casualties on local residents every year.
In previous months, three other local residents of Dasht Abbasi area of Ilam named Dabesh, Sabih Hamidi and Newroz Khazraji lost their lives in landmine explosion incidents.
In March 2016, no step was taken by the Islamic regime to materialize gender equality. Women in Eastern Kurdistan are still witnessing the daily violation of their rights. One of the most serious phenomena, which has always been on the blind spot of the regime, is women’s suicide.
During March 2016, Kawsar Ahmadi Mamash from Oshnaviyeh, a young Kurdish girl from Kermanshah, a married woman from Saqqez, a 19-year-old girl from Saqqez, a 30-year-old woman from Sanandaj, two Kurdish women named Zeynab and Mina from Orumiyeh and Tara Azizpour from Mahabad committed suicide. A 17-year-old girl from Dehloran was murdered.
During this month, Shahla Vakili, Sara Milani and Ladan Sohrabi were arrested. Simin Chayichi and Soheila Mohammadi were summoned to Sanandaj Intelligence Agency.
With respect to children, there were some concerning news in March 2016. Children’s suicide in Eastern Kurdistan, the issuance of the death penalty for a Kurdish juvenile named Kiyomars Nasiri and the high likelihood of implementing the death penalty of another Kurdish juvenile named Himan Oraminejad are the most important ones.
With regard to Health and Environment, there were some concerning news in March 2016.
Filling the reservoir of Daryan Dam in Hewraman which is concurrent with closing down some ancient caves in the area with concrete, the gradual destruction of Kurdistan’s environment, preventing the Green Chia Association of Marivan from planting saplings, infliction of 50,000 hectares of forests in Ilam with Loran Tos pest, acknowledgement of the Manager of Planning and Reviving Orumiyeh Lake that it will dry up soon, declaring critical situation in Sanandaj due to the dusty weather, desertification of Ilam’s forests and polluted air in Saqqez are the most important environmental news in March 2016.
In the End, the Kurdistan Human Rights Association calls upon all residents of Eastern Kurdistan to not give up on their rights and to report any violations of the Kurdistani people’s rights to human rights associations and organizations.
Kurdistan Human Rights Association
*This report was translated from its original Persian version into English by the Washington Kurdish Institute.