CHRI – Prominent Kurdish rights activist Mohammad Sadiq Kaboudvand was freed from Evin Prison in Tehran on May 12, 2017 after serving 10 years for his peaceful activism. However, the founder of the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan has another conviction that could put him back behind bars.
“I had a 10-year prison sentence that ended three days before I was freed, but the authorities added three days to my term because they said one time I was late returning to prison after my temporary leave had ended,” he added.
Kaboudvand, 54, was arrested on July 1, 2007 and sentenced to 10 years in prison for “acting against national security” for creating and managing the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan, and one year for “propaganda against the state” for having contact with international media as well as the United Nations’ secretary general. The sentence was reduced to 10 years in prison upon appeal.
Kaboudvand was also issued a one-year prison sentence by the Revolutionary Court in Sanandaj, the capital of Iran’s Kurdistan Province, for allegedly “spreading falsehoods” in Payam-e Mardom (“People’s Message”), a Kurdish-Persian publication he edited.
The Appeals Court reduced the term to six months in prison—a sentence he is trying to avoid by combining all his convictions.
In cases involving convictions on multiple charges, Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code allows the deciding judge to reduce time served to only the longest sentence.
During his incarceration, Kaboudvand went on several wet hunger strikes to protest his treatment in prison and the way his case was being handled by judicial authorities.
His last hunger strike, which lasted more than a month, resulted in his hospitalization in May 2016.
In 2009, Kaboudvand was named “International Journalist of the Year” by the British Press Awards and received the Hellman Hammett Award for persecuted writers from Human Rights Watch.