Witness Statement: Sabah Nasri
In honor of the memory of Farzad Kamangar, Shirin Alamhooee, Ali Haidarian, and Farhad Vakili—four ethnic Kurdish activists who were executed along with Mehdi Eslami by the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran on May 9, 2010—IHRDC releases a witness statement of Sabah Nasri, a former cellmate of Kamangar and Vakili.
Sabah Nasri, publisher of “Rujameh,” recounts his arbitrary arrest, detention and torture by Islamic Republic officials in Sanandaj and Tehran for his activities in support of Kurdish rights in Iran. Nasri also describes the regime’s treatment of Farzad Kamangar and Farhad Vakili, with whom he shared prison cells. Kamangar, Vakili and three other prisoners were executed on May 9, 2010, without notification to their families.
Name: Sabah Nasri
Place of Birth: Dehgolan, Kurdistan, Iran
Date of Birth: March 21, 1980
Occupation: Kurdish activist
Interviewing Organization: Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC)
Date of Interview: February 22, 2011
Interviewer: IHRDC Staff
This statement was prepared pursuant to an interview with Sabah Naasri. It was approved by Sabah Nasri on May 6, 2011.
1. My name is Sabah Nasri and I was born in 1980 in the city of Dehgolan in the province of Kurdistan in Iran.
2. As a student at Tehran University, I was active with a group of Kurdish students who were studying in different universities in Tehran. We regularly met to discuss the issues facing Kurdish minorities in Iran.
3. I was arrested for these activities and spent a year and half in prison. After I was released I was prevented from continuing my education. I remained in Iran for 13-14 months after my release from prison during which time I was threatened by the security forces due to having continued my political activities in Iran and in Tehran University. The security forces and in particular the interrogator in charge of my previous case file contacted me and threatened me that if I were to continue my activities, I would be re-arrested and detained. On top of that, many of my friends had been arrested during gatherings we held in the University but I was able to escape the security forces.
4. For these reasons I came to the conclusion that it was better to leave the country than get arrested again. On February 16, 2010 I left Iran.
5. While at University, my friends and I published a magazine called “Rujameh” that I was managing director of. We obtained the publication license for this magazine from Tehran University and its circulation was three thousand copies. We distributed it in different Kurdish cities as well.
6. The magazine was shut down for four months because the Office of Culture and Islamic Guidance of Sanandaj filed a formal complaint against the magazine. After those four months, we reopened the magazine and continued to publish.
7. Eventually, on account of my activities with the magazine and also my participation in gatherings and protests on student day—December 7—and international mother language day—February 21—and generally against the Islamic Republic of Iran’s policy of repression in Kurdistan, I was arrested on July 13, 2007 along with a friend. I spent 18 months in detention.
8. During the summer vacation of 2007, I was in Sanandaj, Kurdistan, along with my friend Hedayat Ghazali when we were approached and arrested by a group of plain clothes agents. They put us in a black Peugeot and told us they were taking us to “offer some explanations” and “answer a series of questions”—a process that took 18 months!