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Update on the Condition of Mohammad Seddigh Kaboudvand in Evin Prison

(24 May 2012) – After weeks of receiving reports about the hunger strike taken by Kurdish political prisoner Mohammad Seddigh Kaboudvand, who is currently incarcerated in ward 350 of Evin prison, the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC) has just received an update on Kaboudvand’s condition in a short conversation with his wife Mrs. Parinaz Hosseini.

In her conversation with IHRDC, Mrs. Hosseini confirmed that Kaboudvand, the secretary of the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan (in Kurdish, the Rexistia Mafe Mirovan li Kurdistane, or RMMK) and a journalist, had been on hunger strike since Monday, May 14, 2012.  He announced his hunger strike in a letter to the Tehran Prosecutor. Mrs. Hosseini said the reason for the hunger strike was Kaboudvand’s dispute with the authorities concerning his request for provisional release to tend to his ill son. 

Mrs. Hosseini claims that on Thursday, May 17, 2012 prison guards transferred Kaboudvand to the court located in Evin prison where he met a man named Rajabi, one of the assistants to the Tehran Prosecutor.  Rajabi threatened Kaboudvand with a transfer to solitary confinement if he did not cease his hunger strike. Rajabi told Kaboudvand that his leave request was under review—he further promised that the request would be confirmed in the coming weeks. On the basis of this promise, Kaboudvand has temporarily broken his hunger strike, pending the acceptance of his leave request, since last Thursday, May 17, 2012.

Kaboudvand has been held in prison since July 1, 2007. He was convicted and sentenced to more than 10 years’ imprisonment for founding the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan. During Kaboudvand’s time in prison, he has frequently been denied furlough—which is customarily granted.  Kaboudvand also went on hunger strike on an earlier occasion, on February 13 of this year, when his same son was sent to hospital for illness. Again, following the promises of the judiciary and Evin prison authorities to consider his requests for leave to visit his son, Kaboudvand broke his hunger strike after one week.  Kaboudvand was then able to visit his son four times under special protection in the hospital. Despite that grant of visitation, Kaboudvand’s requests for subsequent visits to his ailing son have since been denied, as well as his requests for sick leave for his own hospitalization (he suffers from serious heart ailments).

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