Iranian Kurdistan: Kurdish Activist Dies in Custody
Kurdish activist Kaveh Azizpour dies in prison after information emerged suggesting that torture by the Iranian authorities caused a lethal stroke.
Below is a press release issued by The Leadership Council for Human Rights:
Mr. Azizpour, 25, was originally arrested two years ago on charges of supporting the banned Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (PDKI), the group’s website reports.
Iranian judiciary officials say that Mr. Azizpour’s death came in an Urmiyeh hospital after a 20-day coma, and add that he was transferred there after suffering the cerebral stroke in Mahabad prison. However, according to the student newsletter of Amir Kabir University, his family’s funeral notice lists torture as the cause of the fatal stroke.
Mr. Azizpour’s brother, Assad, told reporters: “The moment that Kaveh went into coma for the second time, he was operated on, but intelligence officials, without paying attention to the doctor’s advice and despite Kaveh’s critical need for medical care, transferred him to the Intelligence [Ministry’s] detention center 48 hours after his surgery.” Assad asserts that his brother’s third and fatal stroke occurred in jail.
Given Iran’s deplorable record on the treatment of political prisoners – particularly those of non-Persian ethnicity – there is every reason to belief the Azizpour family’s claims. The Leadership Council stands with the international human rights community in supporting the family and denouncing the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for this latest atrocity. Iran’s ethnic minorities already suffer tremendously through institutionalized discrimination. The fact that those who dare speak out for their rights are often subject to the same type of treatment that befelled Mr. Azizpour is truly horrific.
LCHR President Kathryn Cameron Porter condemned the Iranian government for Mr. Azizpour’s death and called on the international community to do more to address Tehran’s blatant disregard for fundamental rights. “Silence is not an option in instances like these,” Ms. Porter said. “The evils perpetrated by the Ahmadinejad regime must be fully exposed. Iranians of all backgrounds have suffered for far too long. The world’s leaders and torchbearers of social justice and human rights must send a strong message that these abuses will not be tolerated.”