Iran - Appeal court upholds 11-year jail term for Kurdish journalist



    MONTREAL, Oct. 30 /CNW Telbec/ - A Tehran appeal court has upheld the
11-year prison sentence that was imposed on journalist Mohammad Sadegh
Kabovand for creating a human rights organisation in Iran's Kurdish northwest.
Under Iranian law, sentences of more than 10 years in prison cannot be the
subject of appeals to the supreme court.
    His lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, told Reporters Without Borders he would
refer the case to the head of the judicial system, Ayatollah Hashemi
Shahroudi, after which there would be no further legal recourse.
    "The national security charges brought against Kabovand are baseless,"
Reporters Without Borders said. "It is absurd to regard the defence of human
rights as an attack on national security. This is just a clumsy pretext for
silencing a journalist who had for long time been writing about discrimination
against minorities in Iran."
    The press freedom organisation added: "This journalist's most basic
rights have been flouted, beginning with his right to appropriate medical
treatment. The Iranian authorities are responsible for the health of their
detainees. Kabovand urgently needs to be allowed out of prison for a medical
examination."
    Kabovand, who has been held in Tehran's Evin prison since July 2007, is
suffering from prostate pains and has not yet been granted permission to
receive treatment outside the prison. His wife, Parinaz Hassani, told
Reporters Without Borders that she has not been allowed to visit him since 24
September.
    In its ruling, issued on 23 October, the appeal court upheld Kabovand's
conviction on a charge of "activity against national security" but dismissed a
second charge of "publicity against the government." It did not however reduce
the sentence he received in June.

    In an unrelated case, 10 journalists who were about to leave for the
United States to cover the 4 November presidential election were detained on
25 October at Tehran international airport. Their passports were confiscated
and they were ordered to report to the ministry of intelligence.

    Read more about Mohammad Sadegh Kabovand:

    24.06.2008 - Kurdish journalist gets 11-year prison sentence, Tehran
daily closed for criticising Ahmadinejad
(http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=27612).




For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, Executive Director,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4188, Fax: (514)
521-7771, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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