Mohammad Seddigh Kaboudvand

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Plainclothes security officials arrested Kaboudvand, a 49-year-old journalist and human rights activist, at his Tehran office, according to Amnesty International and CPJ sources. He was being held at Evin Prison in Tehran.

Authorities charged Kaboudvand, head of the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan and managing editor of the weekly Payam-e-Mardom, with acting against national security and engaging in propaganda against the state, according to his organization’s website. A Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced him to 11 years in prison in 2008.

Kaboudvand’s health deteriorated in prison, and he was consistently denied requests for medical leave or family visits. His wife, Farinaz Baghban Hassani, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that when his family members were finally allowed to see him, they believed he had suffered significant heart problems in custody. News accounts also reported that the journalist had suffered from severe dizziness and disruption of speech and vision.

Kaboudvand has waged several hunger strikes to protest authorities’ refusal to grant him a furlough to see his son, who had been diagnosed with leukemia, according to news reports. After he waged a hunger strike that left him hospitalized, authorities temporarily released him to visit his son in December 2012 on bail of 700 million toman (about US$250,000). The journalist returned to prison after four days, news reports said.

In 2013, security forces told Kaboudvand that they would file additional charges against him in connection with letters they alleged he had written to senior officials calling on them to respect human rights in the country, according to news reports. No additional charges had been filed in late 2014.

On April 17, 2014, security and intelligence agents on Ward 350 of Evin Prison severely beat and injured several prisoners, according to news websites and human rights groups. Kaboudvand was badly injured. His wife, who visited him after the attack, told the reformist news website Kaleme that three of his ribs and two toes had been broken and that he had bruised knees and arms and swelling on the back of his head.