Large Scale Arrests of Kurdish Civil Activists in Mahabad and Sanandaj
Mahabad Intelligence Office forces have arrested several Kurdish civil activists and journalists over the past few weeks, transferring them to the Mahabad Intelligence Office’s Information Unit and telling their families not to talk about the arrests, a local source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. The identities of several of those arrested are not yet known, but local sources report that at least 10 individuals have been arrested. The Sanandaj Intelligence Office also arrested five labor activists in Sanandaj on Thursday, March 7.
“On February 17, forces from the Mahabad Intelligence Office arrested a Kurdish student by the name of Farzad Samani, and transferred him to the [Intelligence Office] Information Unit’s Detention Center; simultaneously, intelligence forces also arrested his cousin in another part of the city. There have also been reports of widespread arrests of more individuals in this same way, but due to pressure on families, the identities of the others have not yet been revealed. Five days after his arrest, Intelligence Office forces stormed the home of Farzad Samani, searched the premises while disrespecting his family, and arrested his older brother, Farough Samani, an artist and a former political prisoner, transferring him to the Information Unit’s Detention Center. Also, on February 25, intelligence forces arrested a Kurdish cultural activist and former political prisoner by the name of Rasoul Khezr Morovat, and transferred him to the Information Center Detention Center. There have been no reports about the reasons for the individuals’ arrests. The detainees made short telephone calls to their families and informed them of their detention inside the Mahabad Intelligence Office’s Information Unit Detention Center,” the local human rights activist told the Campaign.
“The wave of arrests also included Ghasem Ahmadi, a former university student and editor of student publication Rojhe, who was arrested on Wednesday, March 6, after he was summoned to the Mahabad Intelligence Office. Intelligence forces also went to his home, searched the premises, and confiscated his computer and some of his personal property. The next day, on Thursday, March 7, security forces went to the home of Khosrow Kordpour, managing editor of Mukrian News, and arrested him after searching his home,” the activist added.
On Thursday, March 7, Sananadaj Intelligence Office forces simultaneously stormed the homes of five labor activists and arrested Khaled Hosseini, Hamed Mohammad Nejad, Behzad Farajollahi, Vafa Ghaderi, and Ali Azadi. All five men were members of a coordination committee to form a labor organization.
The widespread arrests of Kurdish civil activists have been increasing in recent months. In February, several Marivan student activists were arrested; they were temporarily released on bail one month later.