Family of Kurdish Political Prisoner Endure Immense Pressure From Security Forces
The family of Anvar Hossein Panahi, a thirty-seven year old Kurdish political prisoner, has been under increasing pressure from security forces in Kurdistan. Amjad Hossein Panahi, Panahi’s brother, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that his family is under pressure from security forces in Kurdistan and that several of his family members have been arrested and imprisoned following his brother’s arrest. “My family is under immense pressure from the Kurdistan Province Intelligence Office. They intended to fabricate a case and exile the entire family members to a remote location. Right now, almost no one is allowed to visit with the family and since my brother’s arrest, 30 members of our family and relatives have been arrested and imprisoned,” he told the Campaign.
“My brother’s lawyers, Nemat Ahmadi and Saleh Nikbakht, did their best to reduce Anvar’s sentence pro bono, and they were successful to a degree, as his sentence was reduced to 16 years in prison. But they believe that there is no evidence [in his case file] with which Anvar could be imprisoned even for one day, and that the government has imprisoned him without referring to any evidence. Right now, he is represented by another lawyer, who is the former Prosecutor of Kurdistan Province,” said Amjad Hossein Panahi.
Amjad Hossein Panahi also told the Campaign that his brother was put through six months of psychological and physical torture when first arrested, including repeatedly being tied to a fence inside the prison yard during winter time while he was suffering from broken ribs and kidney infection, leading him to lose consciousness as a result of pain and cold temperatures. “During all this time, our family was kept in complete dark about his arrest, even though they had gone to judicial authorities many times,” he said.
Regarding the death of his brother Ashraf Hossein Panahi, he said, “He started collecting evidence in order to prove Anvar’s innocence. He got his evidence signed by 5,000 trusted and respected individuals in the region. He then headed to Tehran to deliver the evidence to the Judiciary, but he was mysteriously murdered on the way and his body was discovered and delivered to our family by the people from Tateh Rashid Village. The coroner announced the cause of death as ‘his head being hit by a blunt object, causing brain trauma,’ and local people testified that during the murder, they witnessed an unknown car at the location. Family inquiries and complaints have so far remained unanswered.”
“After the death of Ashraf, my younger brother Afshin attempted to continue my other brother’s actions, but he, too, was arrested and tortured inside Ghorveh Detention Center. He lost more than 50% of his vision as a result of this. He is only 19. He was sentenced to one year in prison for pursuing his brothers’ cases and is currently serving his sentence,” Amjad Hossein Panahi added.
“Many Kurdish prisoners are deprived from having lawyers, and therefore defending their rights, because of financial problems. Those who use court-appointed lawyers sometimes face bigger problems because many [of those lawyers] cooperate closely with the Intelligence Ministry,” said Amjad Hossein Panahi about his other brother’s conditions.
“Our house is inspected once and sometimes twice per week, all our communication devices, such as our telephones, are under monitoring, and all family members’ comings and goings are monitored in such a way that it is not possible to contact them without problems,” he concluded.