Iran: Kurdish political prisoner sentenced for sending letter to the UN
Kurdish political prisoner Yousef Kakehmami, already serving nine years in prison, has been sentenced to an extra five years behind bars. He was scheduled to be released on August 22. However, he became the target of newly fabricated charges and his current status remains in limbo.
The Iranian regime is known for forging new judicial cases against political prisoners once their sentences come to an end. This tactic is used to avoid releasing them.
Yousef Kakehmami is from Mahabad in West Azerbaijan Province. He was first arrested in 2007 and sentenced to serving a total of nine years behind bars.
He was placed under torture in a Ministry of Intelligence detention facility in Urmia, northwest of Iran, for “propaganda against the establishment” and “having links with media outlets and human rights organizations”.
He launched a mass hunger strike in November 2014, protesting the transfer of criminal defendants and drug offenders to Ward 12 where political prisoners are held. His hunger strike was in protest against a decision to transfer to their ward 40 prisoners convicted of crimes such as murder and armed robbery, which made the ward more dangerous for them.
He was sentenced to a further five years behind bars by branch 2 of Urmia court without access legal representation.
Despite the new charges, the prosecutors presented his letter to the UN Special Rapporteur as evidence against him and the judge questioned him about his communication with human rights organizations.
Amnesty International has recently issued a statement calling on Iranian authorities to withdraw Yousef Kakehmami’s recent conviction based on his communication with the UN Special Rapporteur.