LOS ANGELES, United States (Kurdistan24) – Kurds across Europe took to the streets to pressure Iran to free Mohammad Sediq Kaboudvand, an imprisoned journalist who has been on hunger strike since May 8, in protest to new allegations brought against him.
The people of Netherlands and Finland witnessed Kurds and Iranians holding placards that said “Free Kaboudvand.” The diaspora population in Sweden, Switzerland and Germany are scheduled to hold demonstrations this week as well.
Last week, 41 million users stormed Twitter using the hashtag #FreeKaboodvand to raise awareness about the conditions of the journalist serving a 10-and-a-half-year prison term in Tehran’s Evin prison.
The tweets were in Farsi, Kurdish, English and Turkish, and 41 percent of them were reportedly sent from Iran.
Kaboudvand, born in Diwandara (Divandareh), Kurdistan Province, in the northwest of Iran, was the editor of the banned weekly Payam-e mardom-e Kurdistan and the chair of the Tehran-based Kurdistan Human Rights Organization (RMMK).
When he co-founded the Kurdistan Human Rights Organization, along with other activists, Kaboudvand documented and publicized widespread human rights abuses in the Kurdish areas committed by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
He was incarcerated in 2007 for his activities.
Speaking to Kurdistan24 on the phone, Parinaz Hosseini, Kaboudvand's wife, said that he was recently interrogated three times.
“First, he was interrogated for having sent a message in support of Kobani and asking Turkey to resume peace with Kurds,” Hosseini said.
“The second time for ‘propaganda against the state,’ and the third time for writing his dissertation on the violation of the prisoners’ rights in Iran,” she said.
“The third accusation comes at a time when his dissertation has not been completed yet, and his writing has focused on Turkey and minorities,” Kaboudvand’s wife added.
John Kirby, the spokesperson for the US State Department, highlighted Kaboudvand's case for World Press Freedom Day in April. Kirby called on Iran to release the journalist and other prisoners who have been detained “simply for exercising their right to freedom of expression.”
Kaboudvand was named the international journalist of the year at the British Press Award in 2009 for his journalistic activities. He has also received international recognition from organizations around the world for his commitment to human rights.
PEN Canada, Amnesty International, and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), and its affiliate, the Iranian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LDDHI), have repeatedly called upon Iranian authorities to release Kaboudvand.
Reporting by Ava Homa
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany