IRN 001 / 0813 / OBS 073
Arbitrary detention /
August 9, 2013
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in the Iran.
The Observatory has been informed by the Iranian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LDDHI) about the arbitrary detention of and judicial harassment against two journalists and brothers from the Kurdish ethnic community, Messrs Khosro Kordpour and Massoud Kordpour, respectively editor and correspondent of the Mukrian News Agency, reporting mainly about the conditions of civil rights activists, political prisoners and violations of human rights in particular in the Iranian Kurdish-inhabited regions and cities.
According to the information received, on March 7, 2013, Mr. Koshro Kordpour was arrested in the west-Iranian Kurdish-inhabited city of Mahabad by Intelligence Ministry’s agents who confiscated his personal belongings.
Two days later, on March 9, Mr. Massoud Kordpour was in turn arrested as he was trying to find out about the reasons for his brother’s detention.
About 10 days later, both were taken to the detention centre of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in the West-Azerbaijan provincial capital Urumiya, where they were kept for four months in solitary confinement.
Their family members were able to separately visit them for the first time on April 25, 2013 for 10 minutes. Messrs. Khosro and Massoud Kordpour told their relatives that they had not even been interrogated during those 45 days, and demanded to have access to lawyers. The second visit took place on May 27, 2013.
Mr. Khosro Kordpour went on a hunger strike for 25 days to protest his conditions while in IRGC detention centre in Urumiya.
Both were transferred to Mahabad prison on June 26, 2013, where it was revealed that Mr. Khosro Kordpour had lost 12 kilos and Mr. Massoud Kordpour 20 kilos. It was only after being transferred to Mahabad that they were charged.
Mr. Khosro Kordpour was charged with “moharebeh” (“fighting God”), “corruption on earth through assembly and collusion to commit crimes against the national security”, “insulting the Leader”, “propaganda activities against the State” and “spreading lies with intent to disturb the public minds”, while Mr. Massoud Kordpour was charged with “assembly and collusion to commit crimes against the national security”, “insulting the Leader”, “propaganda activities against the State” and “spreading lies with intent to disturb the public minds”.
Branch 1 of the Islamic Revolution Court of Mahabad held the first session of their trial on August 5, 2013, where the judge read out their charges. The lawyers of the two defendants objected to the competence of the court on the ground that the defendants were journalists and that they should be tried at a Press Court in the presence of a jury as their charges were related to press activities. They also objected to the absence of the prosecutor’s representative at the hearing.
The judge rejected the objection about his competence, but accepted the second objection.
Mr. Khosro Kordpour defended himself at the court stating that he was there only for being a journalist, and that all the articles of the news agency had been published within the frameworks of the law. Mr. Massoud Kordpour also defended himself stating he had only fulfilled his duty of reporting issues, as stipulated in the Constitution.
Their lawyers requested the judge to release them on bail, but the judge did not issue any decision in court, saying he would notify them of his decision at a later stage.
The second hearing is due to take place in late August or in September.
Please write to the Iranian authorities and ask them to:
i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Messrs. Khosro Kordpour and Massoud Kordpour, as well as of all human rights defenders in Iran;
ii. Release Messrs. Khosro Kordpour and Massoud Kordpour immediately and unconditionally as their detention is arbitrary since it only aims at sanctioning their human rights activities;
iii. Put an end to any kind of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Messrs. Khosro Kordpour and Massoud Kordpour and all human rights defenders in Iran, and release them all;
iv. Conform in any circumstances with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, in particular its article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, and its article 12.2 which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;
v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Iran.