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Kurdish-Iranian Human Rights Activist Released From Prison

Mohammad Seddigh Kaboudvand, released human rights defender
Mohammad Seddigh Kaboudvand, released human rights defender

On May 12, the Iranian “Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan” announced in a statement that its founder, Mohammad Seddigh Kaboudvand, was released from Evin prison in Tehran after serving his ten year sentence.

The statement says that Kaboudvand had received another sentence for alleged “public statements against the government,” earning him six additional months in jail. However he has not served this additional term yet, it was said in the statement, something that appears to be the reason why the Kurdish human rights activist was released on bail.

According to the Article 134 of the new “Islamic Criminal Code,” the judge may issue different sentences for different crimes. But the these must be served consecutively, in the order of tougher to lighter sentences.

Kaboudvand founded his Kurdish-Iranian human rights organization in early 2000’s and also published a newspaper in 2004 that was later banned.

In 2007 Kaboudvand was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison for allegedly ‘acting against national security” by founding his human rights organization.

During the prison term, Kaboudvand staged several hunger strikes, demanding his prison terms be combined. He also claimed that Iranian justice authorities have “fabricated allegations to extend his prison term.”

His wife had claimed that the judiciary intended to extend his imprisonment for his “letter of congratulation on the occasion of [Syrian city] Kobani’s liberation from ISIS control” in 2015 and his “calls on Turkey to make peace with the Kurds.”

Last year, former US State Department Spokesman John Kirby and a number of other public and media figures asked the Iranian government to release Kaboudvand. The calls went unheard by Iranian authorities.