Sep 13, 2016

Iranian Kurdistan: Release of Prominent Local Journalist after Ten Years in Prison

Kurdish journalist Adnan Hassanpour, jailed in 2006 under the suspicious charge of being an “enemy of God” by the Iranian authorities,  has been released after serving one of the longest sentences ever served by a journalist in the country. Hassanpour, a former editor with a history of highlighting violent crackdowns on local protests prior to 2005, has long been seen as a political victim of the Iranian regime’s repression. 

The article below is published by

A Kurdish journalist and activist, jailed in Iran for being an enemy of God, has been released after spending ten years in jail. Adnan Hassanpour was arrested in 2006 on charges of moharebeh, fighting with God. In July 2007, he was convicted and sentenced to death. That conviction was overturned on appeal and he was retried on charges of working for outlawed parties and espionage, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). He was sentenced to 15 years in prison, which was ultimately reduced to 10 years. 

Hassanpour was editor of the now-closed weekly Aso, published in Kurdish and Persian in his hometown of Marivan, Kurdistan Province.  His sister, Lily, told CPJ in 2008 that she believed her brother was arrested because of his writings, which were critical of Tehran. 

Aso was shut down by the authorities in August 2005 after reporting on violent protests in Kurdish areas. The weekly magazine was charged with threatening national security. Hassanpour had also frequently written about social issues such as poverty.  He served a longer consecutive time in prison than any other journalist in Iran.

Multiple press freedom organizations campaigned for Hassanpour’s release, including CPJ and PEN. Hassanpour has been given several international free press awards. In 2007, his lawyer, Khalil Bahramian, was on his way to Siena, Italy to accept a freedom of the press award on Hassanpour’s behalf when he was arrested just before boarding his flight. 

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