Iran: Environmentalist arrested in Iran
June 22, 2011
Index: MDE 13/062/2011
Farzad Haghshenas, an environmental activist and member of the NGO, Sabzchia (The Green Mountain Society), was arrested on 18 May 2011 in front of his shop in Marivan, Kordestan Province, north western Iran. He is at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.
A member of the Kurdish minority in Iran, Farzad Haghshenas, 35, was arrested in front of his confectionary shop by members of the Ministry of Intelligence. No reason was given for his arrest. He was taken to the Marivan Intelligence detention facility. His mother was allowed to visit him on 13 June 2011 and he told her that he was being kept in solitary confinement and that he did not know why he was being held.
Farzad Haghshenas is a member of the environmental NGO Sabzchia (The Green Mountain Society), whose objective is to ensure that the countryside around Marivan is clean.
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Kurds, who are one of Iran's many minority groups, live mainly in the west and north-west of the country, in the province of Kordestan and neighbouring provinces bordering Kurdish areas of Turkey and Iraq. They experience discrimination in the enjoyment of their religious, economic and cultural rights (see: Iran: Human rights abuses against the Kurdish minority, (Index: MDE 13/088/2008), 30 July 2008 available at: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE13/088/2008/en). For many years, Kurdish organizations such as the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) and the Marxist group Komala conducted armed struggle against the Islamic Republic of Iran, although neither currently does so. An alleged member of the KDPI, Farhad Tarom, was reported by Kurdish sources to have been executed in February 2011. The Party For Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), was formed in 2004, and carried out armed attacks against Iranian security forces, but declared a unilateral ceasefire in 2009, although it still engages in armed clashes with security forces in what it terms "self-defence". Hossein Khezri, a member of Iran's Kurdish minority, is feared to have been executed on 15 January 2011 after being convicted of moharebeh due to his membership of PJAK. The authorities announced that an unnamed PJAK member was executed on 15 January 2011. On 16 January 2011, PJAK issued a statement pledging an "appropriate response" to what they clearly believe to have been Hossein Khezri's execution and calling for a week of "resistance" to Iran.
In April 2011 the Kordestan province was the scene of clashes between Kurdish armed groups and the security forces; explosive devices were exploded without casualties and this was followed by many arrests.
Amnesty International condemns without reservation attacks on civilians, which includes judges, clerics, and locally or nationally-elected officials, as attacking civilians violates fundamental principles of international humanitarian law. These principles prohibit absolutely attacks on civilians as well as indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks. Such attacks cannot be justified under any circumstances.
At least 15 Kurdish men and one Kurdish woman are believed to be on death row in connection with their alleged membership of and activities for proscribed Kurdish organizations. They are Sami Hosseini, Jamal Mohammadi, Rashid Akhkandi, Rostam Arkia, Anvar Rostami, Mostafa Salimi, Mohammad Amin Abdollahi, Ghader (or Aziz) Mohammadzadeh, Hassan Talai, Habibollah Golparipour, Abdollah Sorouri, Loghman (or Loqman) Moradi, Zaniar Moradi (who was only 17 when arrested), Zeynab Jalalian, Sherko Moarefi and Habibollah Latifi. Some have had initial prison sentences increased to death sentences. Ehsan Fattahian, a member of Komala, was executed on 11 November 2009 in Sanandaj.