Imprisoned Kurdish Activist Deprived of Visit with Ailing Son
Mohammad Sadiq Kaboudvand, a prominent Kurdish human rights activist who has been in prison since 2007, has been on a wet hunger strike for over a month to demand visitation rights with his sick child. After visiting him on June 20, Kaboudvand’s wife, Parinaz Baghban Hassani, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that he is incredibly weak and his health condition is deteriorating.
Hassani also told the Campaign numerous requests by Kaboudvand to the Iranian Judiciary, requesting furlough to visit his 22-year-old son who is sick with cancer, had gone unanswered until recently. “The only answer Mohammad has ever received regarding his furlough requests is what the Deputy Tehran Prosecutor said recently. He met with my husband in prison last week and told him that ‘hunger strike and death of a political prisoner does not matter to us. It is up to you whether you wish to continue your hunger strike.’ This is the only response my husband has ever received. And they never answer any of our questions. We are really desperate. We don’t know what to do.”
In 2007, authorities arrested Mohammad Sadiq Kaboudvand, Secretary of Kurdistan Human Rights Organization and manager of the publication Payam-e Mardom. A year later, the Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced him to 11 years in prison on charges of “propagating falsehoods with the intent to create public anxiety” by establishing the Kurdistan Human Rights Organization. He has been deprived of basic prisoner rights such as furlough, in-person visitation, and suitable and timely medical treatment.
Hassani told the Campaign that her husband seemed in very poor condition during the 20 June visit. “Mohammad was very pale during our visit. He had lost a lot of weight, and he told me that he had been transferred to the prison infirmary several times. He had said before that if his request for furlough is ignored, he would embark on a dry hunger strike this week. But his family is very worried for him, so we asked him not to do it. He seemed to oblige, but said that he would continue his wet hunger strike until he is allowed.” On 26 May 2012, Kaboudvand embarked on his wet hunger strike.
“According to Iranian law, they must give prisoners furlough and my husband wants to go on furlough to visit his sick child who needs him. That’s all,” said, Hassani, adding that she and her family are very concerned for her husband’s condition: “There were other prisoners such as Hoda Saber, who died in prison during a hunger strike that ended in a heart attack. We fear that this might happen to Mohammad, too.”
When asked what she requests from the judicial authorities, Hassani said, “How could we have any more demands from the Judiciary authorities? When, after all these years of imprisonment, they would not allow my husband his legal right to furlough, and when he goes on a hunger strike, they tell him to ‘die, it does not matter to us?’ I just want the United Nations and other human rights organizations to put pressure on Iranian authorities to at least abide by the laws they have passed themselves and in which they believe.”