New York, October 19, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the one-year prison sentence given to Kurdish journalist and human rights activist Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand by an Iranian court.
The court declared Kabudvand, managing editor of the bilingual Kurdish and Farsi Payam Mardom Kordestan, guilty of “inciting the population to rebel against the central state,” according to the Italian news Web site Adnkronos International (AKI) and CPJ sources. The court in the western city of Sanandaj reached the ruling on August 18, 2005, but has only now announced it. Kabudvand has not yet been taken into custody and is preparing to appeal.
AKI reported that Kabudvand published articles in his weekly newspaper about torture in Iranian jails, and advocated a federal system of government for the Islamic republic. Kabudvand, was appointed secretary of the Kurdistan Organization for the Defense of Human Rights on April 9.
Over the past five years, the judiciary has closed more than 100 publications, most of them reformist, on vague charges of insult and blasphemy, CPJ research shows.
Iranian courts continue to pressure dissident journalists summoning them for questioning and launching new criminal suits against them. Journalist Akbar Ganji remains jailed, in addition to many political dissidents and activists who were detained in the broader campaign to silence critics. Dozens of prosecutions are pending in the courts.
“The conviction of Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand represents yet another blatant violation of press freedom in Iran,” CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said. “We call for the immediate and unconditional release of all Iranian journalists who have been unjustly imprisoned for practicing their profession.”