Euskal / Basque PEN awards two Kurdish journalists facing execution in Iran

Human rights defenders in many countries have expressed their appreciation over Euskal / Basque PEN´s selection of Mr. Hiwa Buimar and Mr. Adnan Hassanpour, right, for the Idazluma award for their efforts for freedom of speech in Islamic Republic of Iran and the “oppressed Kurdish language and culture”. (27-JUNE-08)

Human rights defenders in many countries have expressed their appreciation over Euskal / Basque PEN´s selection of Mr. Hiwa Buimar and Mr. Adnan Hassanpour, right, for the Idazluma award for their efforts for freedom of speech in Iran and the “oppressed Kurdish language and culture”. (27-JUNE-08)

Based on a news release received from the international NGO Defend International (DI), this article has been edited and prepared for publication here by HRH F / Niels Jacob Harbitz. All photos: Defend International.

In July 2007 the 29-year-old environmental activist Mr. Hiwa Butimar and the 26-year-old journalist Mr. Adnan Hassanpour were sentenced to death by the Iranian Revolutionary court. The death sentences were condemned in Europe and raised the concern of press and human rights organisations worldwide. In October 2007 the Court quashed the decision of the Revolutionary Tribunal concerning Mr. Butimar for procedural irregularities. On April 16 2008, DI received information that the Iranian Revolutionary Court upheld death sentences for Hassanpour and Burtimar. The court found Butimar guilty of “moharebeh” (being an enemy of God).

Leyli Hassanpour.jpgThe Basque Government and its Justice ministry had accepted a request from Euskal PEN/Basque PEN to arrange a meeting with Mrs. Leyli Hassanpour, right, Mr. Adnan Hassanpour´s sister, and Mr. Hadi Butimar, Mr. Hiwa Butimar´s brother, in the Human Rights Commission of the Basque Parliament, to inform about the death sentences and the journalist´s condition in Iranian detention centers. In addition the Basque PEN Board decided to award Hassanpour and Butimar with Basque PEN´s symbolic Idazluma for their efforts for freedom of speech and the “oppressed Kurdish language and culture”.

DI collaborated with Basque PEN in arranging details in terms of establishing contact with the journalist´s families and finalising their travel plans to the Basque Country. In a formal letter Defend International expressed its gratitude for inviting these two journalists and for strengthening thereby the freedom of expression worldwide. The contribution of Basque PEN to grant these families “the possibility to submit their opinions regarding the unfortunate reality they are facing” made this happen.

DI has so far launched three campaigns for Mr. Hassanpour and Mr. Butimar calling on the Iranian authorities to release them immediately and unconditionally since their detention is arbitrary, as it only seems to sanction their human rights activities. DI recalls that numerous United Nations bodies have called for the abolition of capital punishment. DI will continue to closely follow these ongoing cases and hopes that the involvement of the international community will help save their lives.

If you would like more information about the topic, or to schedule an interview please e-mail DI Media Committee at: media@defendinternational.org.

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