Iran: Kurdish Teacher Tortured, Sentenced to
The Iranian judiciary should revoke the death sentence
of Kurdish teacher Farzad Kamangar, Human Rights Watch
said today. Kamangar was active in a number of civil
The authorities should also investigate Kamangar's
allegations that he was tortured in detention, and they
should hold accountable any officials involved in such
"Farzad Kamangar's case highlights how human rights
abuses have become routine in Iran," said Joe Stork,
deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.
"Kamangar was tortured, subjected to unfair trial and
now faces execution."
On February 25, Branch 30 of Iran's Revolutionary Court
sentenced Kamangar to death on charges of "endangering
national security." The prosecution claimed that
Kamangar is a member of the Kurdistan Workers Party
According to Kamangar's lawyer, this trial violated the
Iranian legal requirements that such cases must be tried
publicly and in the presence of a jury. He also told
Human Rights Watch that court officials ridiculed his
requests that they follow mandated legal procedures.
Authorities arrested Kamangar in Tehran in July 2006 and
held him in various detention centers in Kurdistan,
Kermanshah, and Tehran. Kamangar claims that during a
period of detention in Unit 209 of Evin Prison in August
2006, officials tortured him to such an extent that they
had to transfer him to the prison clinic to receive
medical attention. Kamangar also alleges torture and
ill-treatment while in detention in the cities of
Sanandaj in Kurdistan province and Kermanshah.
Kamangar's lawyer told Human Rights Watch that the first
time he met his client, Kamangar's hands and legs were
shaking as a result of mistreatment during detention and
interrogation. Kamangar himself outlined the details of
how he was tortured in a letter written from prison.
Human Rights Watch has obtained a copy of this letter.
Prior to his arrest, Kamangar worked for 12 years as a
teacher in the city of Kamyaran, where he was on the
governing board of both a local environmentalist group
as well as the local branch of the teachers'
association. Kamangar wrote for the monthly journal
Royan, a publication of the Department of Education of
Kamyaran. He was also a writer with a local human rights
organization that documents human rights abuses in
Kurdistan and other provinces.
Human Rights Watch opposes capital punishment in all
circumstances because of its cruel and inhumane nature.
"This case gives the Iranian authorities an opportunity
to show how they can investigate and remedy a situation
where there is strong evidence of an unfair trial and of
torture," Stork said.