Friday, December 13, 2013

Let Them Know They Are Not Forgotten

Let Them Know They Are Not Forgotten
By Ava Homa

The best gift for a political prisoner, according to former detainees, is a letter or postcard from a stranger, wishing them well. 
PEN, an international organization for writers, offers a list of captivated journalists and authors in prisons across the globe so people can send them a greeting letter and wish them health.
You can send a simple card to a Kurdish prisoner to provide a glimpse of hope. 
Mohammad Sediq Kaboudvand is a Kurdish journalist who has been held captive since July 1, 2007. He was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment. Editor of the banned weekly Payam-e mardom-e Kurdestan and chair of the Tehran-based Kurdish Human Rights Organization (RMMK), Kaboudvand was arrested at his place of work in Tehran by plain-clothed security officers.
Kaboudvand’s books, computers, photographs and personal documents were confiscated and he spent the first five months of his detention in solitary confinement. His health has deteriorated in prison due to ill-treatment and lack of medical care.  
PEN International and Amnesty International have urged Iranian authorities to release this human rights activist. Their pleas have so far remained unanswered and Kaboudvand is still in prison.
Your letters and postcards can be sent to “Mohammad Sediq Kaboudvand , Evin Prison, Tehran, Iran.” In order to make sure the prisoners receive the letter and that you will not cause them problems, please avoid making any religious or political comments. Make your greeting short and only wish him health and good spirit.
Adnan Hassanpour is another Kurdish writer, journalist and human rights activist who is jailed in Mariwan, the Kurdish city in Iran. He was arrested on January 25, 2007 and was sentenced to death. This sentence was reversed on September 2008 and he is now serving a 15-year prison term.
Saleh Nikbakht, one of his lawyers, told Reporters Without Borders that Hassanpour had been found guilty of “espionage” because he had allegedly “revealed the location of military sites and established contacts with the US foreign affairs ministry.”
Nikbakht added that: “This sentence is not only contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the international conventions ratified by Iran, but it also contrary to Islamic law and the laws of the Islamic Republic.”   
Hassanpour’s cousin, environmentalist Abdolwahed (known as Hiwa) Butimar who worked with Hassanpour for the Kurdish-Persian weekly journal Aso (Horizon), had also been sentenced to death on the same charges. 
Adnan Hassanpour has spent seven years in prison, making him the longest-held prisoner among journalists. He is serving his sentence behind bars in Sanandaj prison, deprived of his legal right to furlough and without a single hour of release during these years, according to the Committee of Human Rights Reporters. His physical condition is weakening due to the harsh conditions of his incarceration. 
Send your cards to Sanandaj Prison, Kurdistan, Iran and once again please refrain from making political or religious comments and only wish them good health/spirit. Provide a return address in case the prisoner can respond to your letters. 
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