Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Imprisoned Kurdish journalist awarded human rights prize


Toronto, Canada—Mohammad Seddigh Kaboudwand, an imprisoned Kurdish journalist in Iran has been awarded the 2014 Prize by the International Center for Human Rights (ICHR) for his contribution to human rights in his country.

Ardeshir Zarezadeh, co-founder and the Executive Director of the ICHR said that Kaboudwand was chosen this year’s winner for his “significant contribution to advancing and protecting human rights for Kurdish people in Iran and neighbouring countries.”

Kaboudwand, the editor of the weekly magazine Payam-e-Mardom and co-founder of the Human Rights Organization for Kurdistan was arrested by the Iranian security forces in 2007 and charged with “acting against national security.” 

He is now serving a ten and a half year imprisonment in Tehran’s Evin prison.

The announcement was made at the organization’s fourth award ceremony held in Toronto, Canada, attended by human rights activists, members of parliament and religious figures.

“We dedicate this award to Mr. Kaboudwand and all the Kurds in Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria,” Zarezadeh announced.

Amnesty International has designated Kaboudwand a “prisoner of conscience, held solely for his human rights work and the peaceful expression of his views.”

This Kurdish activist was named the international journalist of the year at the British Press Award in 2009. He is an adopted member of PEN International, writers in prison committee.

Kaboudwand’s health deteriorated in prison and he has gone on hunger strike several times. 
Activists say that he has no access to adequate medical attention. 

“Away from any nationalistic or ethnic bias and sentiment, I believe that Kurds in Iran are denied their basic human rights, the right to dignity, to equality, and to freedom,” Kaboudwand wrote in a message from prison.

He wrote that Kurds are entitled to run their own social and political affairs in a democratic manner. 
“They deserve the right to sovereignty without external compulsions. This is a right that is valued and supported by all the civilized societies,” read his message.

Zarezadeh said that Kaboudvand’s efforts were valued by the ICHR, an organization that works to raise awareness and gain international support for people suffering from inhumane and unjust treatment of dictators.

This article was originally published in Rudaw

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