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Iran Arrests Kurds Protesting Turkish Operation In Syria

Marivan Prison in Iranian Kurdistan. Undated

Eleven Kurdish rights activists, including outspoken journalist, Adnan Hassanpour, have been arrested in Marivan, Kurdistan province, western Iran, Kurdish media reported on Tuesday, March 13.

Meanwhile, Kurdistan Press Agency (Kurdpa) said, nine of the detainees were identified, so far. All of the activists from Marivan were detained by the Islamic Republic’s intelligence agents and plainclothesmen on Monday evening.

Furthermore, a Kurdish human rights organization, Hengaw, has announced that two women from Marivan are also among the detainees, but their identities are not known, yet.

All the detainees were reportedly accused of participation in a rally for supporting the city of Afrin and its residents in Syria, currently surrounded by Turkish military units.

Turkey’s military operation aimed at driving the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia out of Afrin began on January 20.

Kurdpa has named the identified detainees as Adnan Hassanpour, Arman Ghafouri, Mohammad Danesh, Diyar Yazdani, Ahmad Iranpanah, Hiwa Fedayee, Moslem Hesami, Nasseh Bakhshi and Faramarz Mohammadi.

In 2007, Hassanpour was charged with “espionage” and collaboration with “banned political parties” and sentenced to death by the Islamic Republic’s “Revolutionary Court”. The sentence was later reduced to ten years imprisonment. After doing his term, Hassanpour was released on Saturday, September 10, 2016.

Various sources in Kurdish populated cities have told Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) that on the eve of the protest rallies on Monday, police and plainclothes forces were widely present in the main squares of these cities.

In some of these cities, civil activists appealed to the governor's office to receive an official license for holding a rally, but their demands were rejected.

“According to reports, at about 17:00 yesterday [Monday], hundreds of citizens in Kamyaran held a protest rally in Imam Shafi Square of the city. At least one woman and one man, whose identities are unknown, were arrested by the police forces who stepped in and dispersed the protesters,” KHRN reported.

Moreover, several student activists and Kurdish activists gathered in front of the Turkish government’s embassy in Tehran protesting Ankara’s military operation against Afrin.