Kurdish Political Prisoners Denied Access to Lawyer, Family Visits Two Months into Detention
Houshmand Alipour and Mohammad Ostad-Ghader Held at Intelligence Ministry’s Sanandaj Center
Kurdish political prisoners Houshmand Alipour and Mohammad Ostad-Ghader continue to be denied legal counsel and family visits more than two months after being held in the Intelligence Ministry’s detention center in Sanandaj, capital of Iran’s Kurdistan Province.
“They don’t have a lawyer and no one knows about their medical condition,” Hejar Alipour, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on October 12. “We call on the media and human rights activists… to defend my brother and his friend’s right to a fair trial.”
“The authorities have not allowed Houshmand, or his friend Mohammad, to meet with family members or with the lawyers that we obtained for them in order to sign retainers. They say based on Article 48 of the Criminal Procedures Regulations, meetings are not allowed until investigations have ended,” the brother added.
Based on Article 48, prisoners accused of crimes against national security may only choose lawyers from a list of 20 attorneys hand-picked and approved by the country’s judiciary.
Arrested on August 3, 2018, Houshmand Alipour and Mohammad Ostad-Ghader are members of a militant Kurdish group known as the Parti Azadi Kurdistan (Kurdistan Freedom Party) but were unarmed when they entered northwestern Iran through Iraqi Kurdistan to campaign for their organization, according to Hejar Alipour.
Houshmand Alipour’s brother added that the investigations were due to end on October 4 but had been extended to October 19 for unknown reasons.
On August 8, the state-run Islamic Republic Broadcasting Organization (IRIB) aired what it claimed to be clips of the two young men confessing to participating in armed attacks against Iranian soldiers. IRIB has a long and documented history of forcing detainees to make “confessions” and then airing these coerced statements on state TV.
“We don’t know much about Mohammad Ostad-Ghader,” Alipour told CHRI. “His family members or anyone else have not inquired about him. All we know is that he was arrested with Houshmand and they are being held in the Intelligence Ministry’s detention center in Sanandaj.”