5 November 2013
IRAQI KURDISTAN: Hunger strike against
executions of Kurdish prisoners in Iran begins
On 4 November, a group of
three women and seven men— Kurds from Iran— asked to speak to an Iranian
consulate representative in Suleimani to demand an end to executions of Kurdish
political prisoners in Iran. The
group consisted of relatives of the prisoners, some of whom the regime had
recently executed, the others sentenced to hang soon.
Several members of the group
have themselves spent years in prison under horrible conditions because of
their political activism. The
group walked to the Iranian consulate with banners and photos of the prisoners,
living and executed, but were stopped by the security forces—police and Asaish. They sat down in the middle of the road
facing the police officers with riot shields, and asked that the authorities
allow them to speak to a representative of the consulate. No one responded to their call, so they
decided to wait.
The security forces enclosed the whole area and
allegedly prevented an unknown number of people, including some journalists,
from reaching the ten Iranian Kurds.
The Asaish questioned CPTers when they arrived but allowed them into the
area based on the documentation they produced identifying them as members of an
international human rights organization. At that time, two TV stations interviewed people and a couple
of reporters took pictures, but later all had left, and CPT remained present as
the only independent observers of the situation.
As the cold night fell over Suleimani,
discussions arose about how to proceed. Two people of the group left to return with water and food. They tried to bring in blankets as well,
but the security forces prevented them from doing so. They also prevented CPT from recording or
even witnessing a discussion at the checkpoint. The Kurdish Iranian group decided to end the action by
conducting a press conference filmed on personal cameras and lit by the
headlights of a car.
The next day, group of forty Kurdish women and
men from Iran—including some of the group from the previous day who had tried
to reach the Iranian consulate—decided to set up tents in front of the Iraqi
Kurdistan parliament office. They asked
the Kurdistan Regional Government (which maintains cordial political and
economic relations with the Iranian government) to support their struggle. At the press conference, they also
called on the international human rights community to help. The group has decided to camp day and
night in front of the Parliament office in Suleimani and are planning follow up
actions to proclaim their message: No More Deaths of Prisoners!