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Special Report: Ghader Mohammadzadeh and Mohammad Amin Abdollahi

(5 April 2012) – As part of its on-going investigation into the condition of Kurdish political prisoners in Iran, the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC) has obtained information about the legal proceedings against two Kurdish political prisoners, Ghader Mohammadzadeh and Mohammad Amin Abdollahi.  While media sources have previously reported that Mohammadzadeh and Abdollahi were sentenced to execution, in fact, they have been sentenced to long terms of imprisonment but not death.

Mohammadzadeh and Abdollahi, two Kurdish citizens from the city of Bukan in Iran, were detained by security forces in their places of residence in the fall of 2005. Both individuals were subsequently held at detention centers in the cities of Mahabad and Orumiyeh and interrogated on allegations of committing muharibih--or “waging war against God”. In the winter of 2006, after 15 months of legal limbo, the two political prisoners were tried for the crime of muharibih in Branch 1 of the revolutionary court in the city of Mahabad.

A source close to Mohammadzadeh and Abdollahi told IHRDC that the attorneys chosen by the defendants were not permitted to review their case—and that the proceedings were actually convened in the absence of the attorneys. Ultimately, Branch 1 of the revolutionary court of Mahabad sentenced Mohammadzadeh to 20 years imprisonment and exile to prison in the city of Yazd for muharibih through membership in Komala—a Kurdish political party. The same court sentenced Abdollahi to 15 years of imprisonment and exile to the prison of Tabas on the same charges. The case was then sent to the appeals court in West Azerbaijan province, and the court upheld both sentences with allowing the defendants and/or their attorneys to present any defense.

Another source close to the defendants affirms that the police filed a claim against Mohammadzadeh and Abdollahi for killing a police officer at the time of their arrest. After years of investigation, the public court of Orumiyeh tried both Mohammadzadeh and Abdollahi for murder.  While Abdollahi was found innocent, the court sentenced Mohammadzadeh to pay diyah--blood money—to the family of the victim. Police forces and the family of the victim appealed the sentence and the verdict was sent to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court sent the case back to one of the branches of the public court in Orumiyeh to be reprocessed.

Based on the court summons, the two prisoners are to be re-tried next week in one of the branches of the public court of Orumiyeh for the murder of the police officer.

In February 2010, Mohammadzadeh and Abdollahi were transferred to cells at the Intelligence Office of Orumiyeh and psychologically pressured and threatened during a month of interrogation. Following the dissemination of information about their case in the international press, the Intelligence Office of Orumiyeh brought a new case against Mohammadzadeh and Abdollahi in March 2010 based on their alleged connections with foreign media.  Subsequently, Branch 1 of the revolutionary court of Orumiyeh sentenced Mohammadzadeh and Abdollahi to 6 months of imprisonment for sending news about their conditions inside prison to foreign media.

The latest news about Mohammadzadeh indicates that on Saturday, April 1, 2012, he was transferred to solitary confinement in Orumiyeh prison. Information about his condition in solitary confinement and the reason for his transfer to the solitary cells is unknown. Up until Mohammadzadeh’s transfer, both Mohammadzadeh and Abdollahi were detained in the special prison ward for “murderers and drug traffickers” in the central prison of Orumiyeh.