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Kurdish activist in Turkey at risk of deportation to Iran: watchdog

  2021-04-09  | 
 Zhyan News Network
Afshin Sohrabzadeh, a former ethnic Kurdish prisoner and political activist who has been arrested in Turkey, is in danger of being deported to Iran. Photo by Hnegaw Organization For Human Rights, Graphic by Zhyan News Network
 Zhyan News Network

SULAIMANI – A former Kurdish political prisoner and political activist has been detained by the security forces in Turkey and is in danger of being deported to Iran, said a watchdog on Thursday (April 9).

Afshin Sohrabzadeh, an ethnic Kurdish political activist, was apprehended by the Turkish security forces in Kayseri city on April 5 and has been transferred to the GGM detention center in the city, reported Hengaw Organization for Human Rights.

“During my contact with Afshin, he said that the security forces had brought a deportation form for me to sign, but I refused to sign it,” Fereshteh Tajmiri, Sohrabzadeh's wife, was quoted as saying by Hengaw, which reports on human rights abuses in the Iranian Kurdistan, known as Rojhalat. 

Sohrabzadeh was a member of the banned Communist Party of Iran when he turned himself in to the authorities in Kamyaran in Kermanshah province in 2000, according to Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

He was held for 67 days by the Intelligence Ministry Office in the mainly Kurdish city of Sanandaj and put under intense interrogation, with beatings and electric shocks that resulted in a broken hand and a torn hernia, according to the CHRI. 

He was sentenced to 25 years in prison by Judge Mostafa Tayyari of Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court in Sanandaj for “enmity with God” (moharebeh) and “corruption on earth” for his alleged membership in militant Kurdish groups, according to the watchdog.

The verdict was upheld by the Supreme Court and in March 2002 and was transferred to Minab Prison in Hormozgan Province where he has been held ever since before he left Iran to Turkey while on a leave in 2016. 

Sohrabzadeh’s wife called on all human rights organizations to do their utmost to prevent the deportation, reported Hengaw.

At least 85 ethnic Kurds were arrested in West Azerbaijan and Kurdistan provinces in January in a large-scale clampdown by the Iranian authorities on dissidents, environmental, political and cultural activists, said the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN), another watchdog, on January 30. 

At least 205 political and civil activists, journalists, environmentalists were arrested in 2020, according to the Kurdistan Human Rights Association (KMMK),. 

International watchdogs such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have voiced alarm regarding the state of press freedom and the freedom of expression in Iran.

(Zhyan English)