Iran sentences Kurdish activist to 15 years in prison
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) –A female Kurdish activist was sentenced to 15 years in prison by an Iranian court, a human rights monitor reported on Sunday.
According to Hengaw, Shahnaz Sadeghifar, 32, is accused of being a member of the Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK) and was handed a 15-year prison sentence.
Sadeghifar was a member of the PAK for three years, and after resigning from the party in August 2019, she came back to Iran with her 15-year old daughter.
“Shahnaz Sadeghifar and her daughter, Aynaz Zare, spent two months in the headquarters of the Ettela’at (Intelligence Service) in Urmia and were transferred to the women ward in the central prison of the city on November 2019,” Hengaw said.
Since then, both have been detained in the Urmia central prison. The report did not mention what would be Zare's fate.
A family member claimed when speaking to Hengaw that Iranian authorities had given Sadeghifar a safe-conduct guarantee before coming back to Iran. Still, she was arrested and tried.
A report by the Iranwire news website noted: “in keeping with Iranian law, [Sadeghifar] had received an “immunity letter” from the intelligence division of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The document, the agency claimed, stated that as a former member of PAK, “she should not face criminal charges.”
Iranwire also wrote that, according to the laws of the Islamic Republic, “members of Kurdish opposition parties, if they return to Iran on their own and carry a letter of immunity, are subject to the original amnesty laws laid down by Ayatollah Khomeini. “
PAK is a Kurdish political party established in Iranian Kurdistan (Rojhilat) in 1991 by Ali Qazi, son of Qazi Mohammed, the first President of the short-lived Kurdistan Republic of Mahabad in 1945.
PAK fighters have assisted the Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga forces along the Kirkuk and Bashiqa fronts since 2014. They also played a vital role in defending the south of Erbil in Pirde when the Iraqi army and Iran-backed militia forces attacked Kurdish positions in October 2017.
In August 2018, Iranian security forces arrested two PAK Peshmerga fighters, broadcasting their confessions on state television.
It’s not the first time that PAK members face arrest in Iran.
Two others– Hoshmand Alipour, from Sardasht, and Mohammed Ostadqader, from the city of Saqqez – were arrested on August 3, 2018. Iranian authorities accused them of plotting attacks in the Khuzestan and Kurdistan provinces.
Both are still in prison and, according to PAK sources, have been tortured by the Iranian government.
Furthermore, Hengaw reported in May 2020 that Ali Arefi was sentenced to 15 years in jail after he was arrested in 2017 by the intelligence forces of Oshnavieh.
Editing by Khrush Najari