Three human rights organisations have called on the Iranian
authorities to "immediately and unconditionally" release an ailing
Kurdish journalist and activist whose health conditions "have
drastically deteriorated" after staging lengthy hunger strikes.
Mohammad Seddigh Kaboudvand, 50, is currently serving a 10-and-a-half-year prison term in Tehran's Evin prison after being
found guilty of "acting against the national security" for establishing
the Human Rights Organisation of Kurdistan and proposing a campaign to
boycott the 9th presidential election which brought Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
to office in 2005.
Amnesty International, the International
Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), and its affiliate, the Iranian
League for the Defence of Human Rights (LDDHI) said in a joint statement that "the Iranian authorities are responsible for any risks" to
Mohammad Seddigh Kaboudvand as a result of his ongoing hunger strike.
Kaboudvand who was named the international journalist of the year at the British Press Awards in 2009,
is on hunger strike since May in protest at the Iranian authorities'
refusal to grant him permission to visit his sick son. Kaboudvand's son,
Pejman, was diagnosed with a rare blood condition and has been "gravely
ill" in a Tehran hospital for five months, putting the family under
immense emotional and financial pressure.
Kabudvand is a prisoner of conscience, held solely for his journalistic
and human rights work and the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom
of expression. He should never have been arrested in the first place,
and must be released immediately and unconditionally so that he is free
to be with his family at this distressing time," said Ann Harrison, the
deputy director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa
Her comments were echoed by Karim Lahidji, the vice
president of the FIDH and President of the LDDHI who warned that the
responsibility for Kaboudvand's health rest on the hands of the Iranian
"The Iranian authorities are responsible for any
possible risks to Mohammad Sadiq Kaboudvand's life as a result of his
continuing hunger strike and his deteriorating conditions," he said.
"Under the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, the
Iranian authorities are obliged to take immediate action to provide
urgent medical care to Mohammad Sadiq Kaboudvand. They must stop further
tormenting a father by denying him the right to visit his ailing son."
an open letter sent from inside jail in May, Kaboudvand described the
reasons behind his hunger strike as: "The Prosecutor and the security
apparatuses continue to deny [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 launch an indefinite hunger strike as of 9 PM,
Saturday 26 May 2012".
In the latest round of harassment against
Kaboudvand's family, activists said that security officials have
recently prevented his family's access to the media by disconnecting
their house landline and his wife's mobile.
imprisoned, Kaboudvand was the editor of the weekly magazine Payam-e
Mardom (Message of the People) and co-founded the Human Rights
Organization of Kurdistan with other activists which documented and
publicised widespread rights' abuses committed by the government
security forces in the Kurdish areas in western Iran.
His commitment to the protection of human rights earned him international recognition from organisations such as New York-based Human Rights Watch.