Saturday, 4 August 2007

EU speaks out and says it well

EU urges Iran not to execute Kurdish journalists

- 17h08 - The European Union on Friday called on Iran to halt the executions of two Kurdish journalists convicted for harbouring links to armed groups.

The EU's Portuguese presidency in a statement also voiced concern at collective public executions that have been taking place in Iran recently.

"The EU calls on the Islamic Republic of Iran to halt the executions of Adnan Hassanpour and of Abdolwahed Boutimar and to ensure that the two accused be given a fair trial in accordance with the international human rights convention", the statement read.

The EU also condemned Iran's "increasing recourse to the death penalty" and "the growing repression against all groups which exercise their right to freely express their opinions, in particular in Kurdish and Arab minority regions".

with thanks to The Kurdish Institute of Paris

Will David Milliband, Gordon Brown, David Cameron speak out like this on behalf of all who are free in the UK? If not, why not?

Friday, 3 August 2007

Sheffield Protest- today

A great success!

Thanks to all who supported and helped in many ways.
Thanks to NUJ, Amnesty, local churches, Kurds from around the region and local organisations and concerned individuals too numerous to mention.

All being well the BBC will air it tonight on Look North.

Nearly 400 signatures were collected on a letter to the Iranian Ambassador.

Here's the afternoon in pictures.

Scottish support... come on English press!

The Scotsman

Paris Protest

According to Xorhelat news, on Wednesday more than 250 people gathered in Paris to protest against the death sentences handed down on Adnan and Hiwa.

Participators were from many different organisations, Human Rights organisations, Kurdish and Persian residents in France. They condemned the unfair trial and asked for an immediate release of Hiwa Butimar and Adnan Hassanpour.

In addition to that, three people, representative of the protesters, handed a letter to the United Nation office in Paris demanding that the UN to take urgent action to stop and invalidate the sentence.

Join us in Sheffield today (3rd) outside the Town Hall at 4.30 for our protest.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Kurdish Human Rights Project

URGENT: KHRP Concerned for Two Kurdish Activists Facing Death Sentence in Iran

KHRP is deeply concerned about the recent sentence handed down to two Kurdish activists by the Iranian courts in July. Journalist Adnan Hassanpur and social activist Hiwa Butimar were sentenced to death after nearly six months in prison where they have faced torture and degrading treatment. They were not represented by their own lawyers, as they were only informed of the trial 24 hours before it was due to begin. Nor did they have enough time to travel to Marivan where the hearing was held. Mr Butimar and Mr Hassanpour were represented instead by a duty solicitor; duty solicitors are widely considered to be agents of the state.


Hiwa Butimar

The family of Hiwa Butimar was only able to see him two months after the arrest and only in the presence of an intelligence officer. They observed that he had been exposed to physical and emotional torture and noticed clear bruises on his face and hands. We have also been informed that he has been kept in a 1 metre by 1 metre confined cell.

Speaking to KHRP, Mr Butimar’s family expressed their concern over the case. Mr Butimar’s brother Hadi Butimar, who has also experienced imprisonment and torture in Iran, stated that they are ‘imploring the international community to assist them as it is our only glimmer of hope’. He is also worried that his brother has been targeted due to his own experiences with the Iranian regime.

Hiwa Butimar, a journalist, environmental activist and co-founder of The Green Mountains of Kurdistan, an organisation focusing on the environmental issues affecting Iran’s Kordestan region, was arrested in Marivan by two plainclothes Iranian intelligence officers on 23 December 2006 with no information of the charges against him. Following the arrest, it transpired that Mr Butimar was accused of ‘acts against national security and spying for western countries’. In a statement, the Intelligence Department stated that Mr Butimar was a member of the political group PJAK and that he was involved with militia groups secretly acting against the government. The legal documents relating to the charges and trial were not made available to the public or to his family.

Adnan Hassanpur

Mr Hassanpour is a writer and, like Mr Butimar, an enthusiastic journalist for newspapers such as Aso, for which he wrote articles on the plight of the Kurdish peoples. In 2002 Mr Hassanpour published a book about the origin of the Kurds, their history, culture and politics. To KHRP’s knowledge, Mr Hassanpour was not a member of any organisation.

Mr Hassanpour was arrested at his family home on 1 January 2007 by Iranian Intelligence officers. It is unknown how many officers were present. Mr Hassanpour’s mother only returned home in time to see her son being pushed into a car. She cried and shouted and asked to speak to her son, however the officers disregarded her pleas. On returning to the house, she discovered that his books, CDs and computer had been seized.

The family received no information as to where Mr Hassanpour was detained until two months after the arrest. The family were never given the opportunity to visit Mr Hassanpour in prison and therefore have had no direct contact with him since his arrest. The only information that they have received was through one of Mr Hassanpour’s fellow prisoners who told them on his release that Mr Hassanpour had severe bruising on his back and on his arms.

The authorities have provided no information as to the reasons for Mr Hassanpour’s arrest and detention nor the offence with which he has been charged. His family believe that the only explanation for the arrest is Mr Hassanpour’s activities as a journalist and writer on issues relating to the Kurdish peoples and, in particular, the situation of the Kurds in Iran. Mr Hassanpour has no criminal record. No legal documents pertaining to the charges or trial have been made available to the family or to Mr Hassanpour’s lawyers.

Since the death sentences were passed, both Mr Butimar and Mr Hassanpour have been held at an unknown location and neither the family nor the lawyers have been given any information in this regard. KHRP is concerned that the judgment will be implemented within 2-3 weeks if there is no international intervention.

It is of further concern to KHRP that it appears Mr Butimar and Mr Hassanpour were targeted not only for being journalists, but also for being Kurdish. Mr Butimar’s family and legal counsel believe that he has been found guilty by virtue of his ethnicity. Journalists from other groups/nations inside Iran accused of similar activities and harassed by the authorities are branded as ‘Reformists’ whereas if the person in question is Kurdish, they are automatically branded as ‘Separatists’.

Today KHRP has sent an urgent communication to the United Nations on behalf of Mr Butimar and Mr Hassanpour, requesting immediate UN intervention in the matter.

In response to the news of the death sentences, KHRP Executive Director Kerim Yildiz today stated: “the plight of Mr Butimar and Mr Hassanpur is the most recent example of the ongoing policy of kidnapping, torture and execution carried out by the Iranian regime against journalists, political activists and human rights defenders. KHRP condemns the practice of the death penalty under any circumstances. However the passing of a death sentence on the basis of ethnic discrimination, torture and scant evidence is in violation of the most basic principles of international law. KHRP calls on the Iranian authorities immediately to release Mr Butimar and Mr Hassanpur, and calls on international human rights organisations and the international community to join us in the condemnation of these sentences.”


Walter Jayawardene/ Mustafa Gündoğdu

Kurdish Human Rights Project,
11 Guilford Street,
London, WC1N 1DH
Tel: +44 20 7405 3835 /

Protest letter

Click here to download a letter of protest for the Iranian ambassador in London.

Get your friends, colleagues, neighbours and anyone to sign it, then send it off to the Iranian ambassador in London.

Let's deluge him with our concern for Adnan & Hiwa.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Executing our son is sending us toward death

To: the noble Kurdish Nation, Organisations of Medina, Human Rights Defenders and all Philanthropists all over the World.

Executing our son ( Hiwa Butimar) is sending us toward death and the loss of everything.

We, the parents of Hiwa Butimar stretch out our hands to you all. Hiwa has been imprisoned since 2006 and recently has been sentenced to death unfairly by the Iranian Revolutionary Supreme Court in absence of his solicitor and without advocate. We humbly ask you all to join us to stop our son’s execution by the Iranian Intelligence Service. We are certainly sure that our son was not engaged in any political affairs against the Iranian government. He was a community minded conservationist.

Your help would be ointment on the broken hearts of parents who are awaiting their innocent son's execution in the Intelligence service’s jail of Kurdistan Province.
Our son, Hiwa Butimar, is our essential financial and emotional supporter. Our lives will be ruined without him.
We would deeply appreciate your help to stop our son’s execution. It seems the Iranian Government is increasingly trying to silence people by such executions.

Kind Regards,

Ali and Halima Butimar
parents of condemned prisoner Hiwa Butimar
Iran Confirms Two Kurdish Reporters Sentenced To Death

Iran - Adnan Hassanpour (L) and Abdolvahed
Adnan Hassanpur and Hiwa Butimar
(Courtesy Photo)
July 31, 2007 (RFE/RL) --

Iran's judiciary today confirmed that two Iranian Kurdish journalists have been sentenced to death for being "enemies of God."

Judiciary spokesman Alireza Jamshidi said they have 20 days to appeal their verdicts.

Hassanpour’s sister today told Radio Farda that her family is deeply concerned about his fate. She said the families have no information about the whereabouts of Hassanpour and Butimar.

“A few days ago, my mother went to Sanandaj. She searched all the prisons of the Information Ministry and the courts, both in Marivan and in Sanandaj, but they told her [Adnan and Butimar] were not with them," she said.

Reporters Without Borders has expressed concern about the death sentences issued against the two Kurdish journalists, and described the rulings as "outrageous and shameful." The group has called for international pressure against Iran to reverse the ruling.

Media rights groups say Hassanpour has written articles on local politics, while Butimar was a member of an environmental group.

Some reports say the two men had contacts with Iranian armed opposition groups. Judiciary officials have said that the two had been involved in “armed struggle “ against Iran’s Islamic establishment.

This article appears on RFE/RL website

Amnesty UK Press release today


Sheffield man appeals for his brother to be spared hanging

Amnesty International has today called for death sentences against two Kurdish cousins in Iran to be commuted as it issued an “urgent action” appeal on their behalf.

The men, Adnan Hassanpour, a journalist, and Hiwa Butimar, a Kurdish rights activist and environmentalist, both from Iran’s Kordestan province, were sentenced to death last month on charges of espionage and for being “at enmity with god” (Moharebah).

The men were told on 17 July that they had been sentenced to death and yesterday Iran’s judicial authorities confirmed for the first time that death sentences had been imposed. The sentences are subject to an appeal and must then be confirmed by Iran’s Supreme Court.

The original charges, relating to possession of Kurdish flags, videos and photographs of a family trip to Iraqi Kurdistan, reportedly saw the men appearing before a Revolutionary Court in June, a tribunal that falls below international fair trial standards. The Iranian penal code contains a number of vaguely worded “national security” provisions that outlaw activities relating to journalism and freedom of expression. These provisions conflict with international human rights law.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“Journalism and cultural and environmental activism are lawful activities that should be protected by the Iranian authorities, not persecuted and punished.

“We sincerely hope that the Iranian authorities will listen to our concerns about this case and commute these death sentences.

“After a shameful spate of executions in Iran this year, it’s now vital that Iran takes a step back from judicial killing and imposes a halt on all further executions.”

The brother of one of the men, Hadi Butimar, who lives in Sheffield, said:

“I’m absolutely shocked that my brother Hiwa has been sentenced to death and I’m doing my utmost to prevent his execution. The entire family is desperately hoping that the sentence will get overturned on appeal. Our main hope is that the international campaign can save him.”

At least 143 people have already been executed in Iran so far this year, an execution rate in excess of even that in 2006, when a minimum of 177 people were executed making the country the second highest user of the death penalty in the world.

Executions have been carried out for a range of offences, including a case earlier this month when a man was stoned to death for “adultery”. The woman in the same case remains under a death by stoning sentence.

In a separate case, a teenager recently came within hours of being hanged before the execution was postponed following an international outcry and moves to pay “blood money” to the victim’s relatives.

The “urgent action” appeal on behalf of Adnan Hassanpour and Hiwa Butimar can be found at

A campaign for Adnan Hassanpour and Hiwa Butimar has also been set up by supporters of the men in the UK:


Amnesty International UK media information:



Thanks Amnesty. We're very grateful for all you do.

n.b. Please note everyone though, that Adnan and Hiwa are not cousins. This is inaccurate.

Monday, 30 July 2007


We're back in business!

Thanks Blogger for putting us back on.

Join us, everyone :

Friday August 3rd in front of Sheffield Town Hall
from 16.30 until 18.00.

A peaceful protest for Adnan & Hiwa.
Bring everyone who will come.
Children welcome.