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Haunted Memories: The Islamic Republic’s Executions of Kurds in 1979

6. Conclusion

Khomeini’s brutal campaign to crush the Kurds in the summer of 1979 was shocking to Iranians as well as the rest of the world. Feeling his grip on power threatened by calls for a secular government that recognized the rights of ethnic minorities, he struck back with violence. He ordered the military and pasdaran to crush the so-called rebels and sent “The Hanging Judge” to further terrorize the population with summary trials and immediate executions.

While these events took place over 30 years ago, they are still relevant today as they turned out to be only a prelude to the Islamic Republic’s regular and persistent suppression of minority voices. The regime continues to violate the human, political and cultural rights of Kurds.231 Use of Kurdish languages in print and education is discouraged,232 and Kurdish student, political and civil activists are regularly arrested, detained and imprisoned. It has been reported that there are currently at least fifteen Kurds on death row for political offenses in the Islamic Republic.233


[231] See HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, IRAN: FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND ASSOCIATION IN THE KURDISH REGIONS (2009), available at http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2009/01/08/iran-freedom-expression-and-association-kurdish-regions.
[232] See, e.g., Tawiyih Mabni bar Istifadih az Zaban-i Milli ]Recommendation for Using the National Language] Komitihyih Aqvam va Millal-i Irani [Committee for the Ethnicity and Nations of Iran], [Nov. 24, 2010], available at http://komiteaghwam.blogsky.com/1389/09/03/post-1180 (reporting that Saqqez Education Office issued a circular recommending that Farsi instead of Kurdish languages be used in schools).
[233] See, e.g., Tawqif-i Mujadad-i Duhaftih Namihyih Kurdi-Farsi Rojhelat, Ajans-i Khabariyih Mukiriyan [Mukiriyan News Agency: Kurdish Bi-Weekly Journal Rojehlat Shut Down Again], GOOYA NEWS (Jan. 12, 2009), available at http://news.gooya.com/politics/archives/2009/01/082223.php; Tawqif-i Du Nashriyihyih Kurdiyih Danishgah-i Orumiyeh [Two Kurdish Publications Shut Down at Orumiyeh University], DANESHJOO NEWS, (June 10, 2011), available at http://www.daneshjoonews.com/news/university/7750-1390-03-20-10-59-44.html; Kahish-i Hukm-i Mokhtar Houshmand az 16 be 7 Sal Zindan [Reducing The Prison Sentence of Mokhtar Houshmand from 16 to 7 Years’[, RAHANA, (Dec. 8, 2010), available at http://www.rahana.org/archives/31535 and http://www.rahana.org/archives/25902 (reporting that Kurdish civil activist and painter, Mokhtar Houshmand was arrested on May 23, 2010, and initially sentenced to 16 years in prison for spying, propaganda against system, and cooperation with the opposition, and that his sentence was reduced to seven years in December 2010); Mohammad Sadegh Kaboudvand; 1475 Ruz Habs Bidun-i Murakhasi va Mulaqat-i Huzuri ]Mohammad Sadegh Kaboudvand; 1475 Days of Imprisonment Without Leave or Visitations], JARAS, (Aug. 8, 2011), available at http://www.rahesabz.net/story/40905/ (reporting that Kurdish human rights activist Mohammad Sadegh Kaboudvand was arrested on July 1, 2007 and condemned to 10 years imprisonment for establishing the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan).
[234] See AKHBAR-ROOZ, Sudur-i Hukm-i Idam barayih Du Zindaniyih Siyasiyih Kurd [Issuance of Execution Order for Two Kurdish Political Prisoners], [Aug. 14, 2011], available at http://akhbar-rooz.com/article.jsp?essayId=39824 (reporting the names: T Zeinab Jalalian, Habibollah Latifi, Habibollah Golpari Pour, RashId Akhkandi, Shirkoo Ma’arefi, Mostafa Salimi, Anvar Rostami, Seyyed Jamal Mohammadi, Seyyed Sami Hosseini, Aziz Mohammad Zadeh, Abdollah Sarvarian, Zaniar Moradi, Loghman Moradi, Ali Afshari, and Mohammad Abdollahi).

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