International PEN is shocked by the 11-year prison sentence handed down to Kurdish journalist Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand on June 22, 2008, on charges of “acting against national security” for his Kurdish-rights activism. PEN remains seriously concerned for his health following reports that he suffered a stroke on May 19, 2008, and was denied access to adequate medical care. PEN calls for Kabudvand’s immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Iran is a signatory. PEN seeks assurances of his well-being and guarantees that his basic rights are being respected and that he is given full access to all necessary medical care.

Background Information

Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand, editor of the banned weekly Payam-e mardom-e Kurdestan, was arrested on July 1, 2007, at his place of work in Tehran by plainclothes security officers. Following his arrest, Kabudvand was taken to his house in Tehran, where security officers confiscated three computers, books, photographs, and personal documents, before taking him to the Intelligence Ministry’s Section 209 of Evin Prison, where he is said to have been ill-treated. He spent the first five months of his detention in solitary confinement. His family has been unable to raise the bail that could have freed him pending trial. Kabudvand’s closed trial began on May 25, 2008. He was sentenced on June 22, 2008, to 11 years in prison by the Tehran Revolutionary Court for forming a human-rights organization in Iran’s Kurdish region.

Amnesty International gives the following background: Chair of the Kurdish Human Rights Organization (RMMK) based in Tehran, Kabudvand, is also the editor of Payam-e Mardom-e Kurdestan, a weekly published in Kurdish and Persian, which was banned on June 27, 2004, after only 13 issues, for "disseminating separatist ideas and publishing false reports." Convicted of "disseminating tribal issues and publishing provocative articles" and "spreading lies with the intention of upsetting public opinion" by a Revolutionary Court in Sanandaj, western Iran, Kabudvand received a suspended prison sentence of 18 months on August 18, 2005, and a five-year ban on working as a journalist. His conviction was reportedly upheld on appeal, but the suspended prison sentence was increased to one year’s actual imprisonment. In September 2006, he was summoned to begin his prison sentence, but remained free pending an appeal against his conviction to the Supreme Court.

Kabudvand has reportedly written two books on democracy and a third on the women’s movement in Iran, which were not given publishing licenses.

PEN is deeply concerned about an apparent pattern of repression against journalists and human-rights activists in Iran's Kurdish regions, which has been ongoing since unrest broke out there in July 2005, and was violently suppressed by the authorities. Several other Iranian-Kurdish journalists are currently detained, including Kaveh Javanmard, Adnan Hassanpour, and Ejlal Qavami.

Write A Letter

  • protesting the 11-year prison sentence against journalist and writer Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand;
  • expressing serious concern for Kabudvand’s health following reports that he suffered a stroke and was denied access to necessary medical care;
  • calling for his immediate and unconditional release on humanitarian grounds and in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory;
  • expressing concern about the apparent pattern of repression against journalists and human-rights activists in Iran's Kurdish regions.

Send Your Letter To

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei,
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Shoahada Street
Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran
E-mail: or

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Salutation: Your Excellency

His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency
Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax va Foreign Ministry: +98 21 6 674 790
(Note: "Please forward to H.E. President Ahmadinejad")

Please send a copy of your appeal to the diplomatic representative for Iran in your country.

Please check with PEN if sending appeals after July 20, 2008: ftw [at]