Iran upholds death sentence against Kurdish dissident

Man allegedly offered to provide US State Department official with information on Kurdish issues in Iran, an act interpreted as spying.

Adnan Hasanpour  (photo credit: )
Adnan Hasanpour
(photo credit: )
Iran's Supreme Court has upheld a death sentence against a Kurdish dissident convicted of armed struggle against the state, his lawyer said Saturday. Saleh Nikbakht criticized the ruling against his client, Adnan Hasanpour, saying it violated Iran's Islamic faith and international obligations. "This is an unfair, unjustifiable verdict," Nikbakht told The Associated Press. "It is contrary to Iran's Sharia (Islamic) law and the international conventions ratified by Iran." The Supreme Court ruled against the 27-year-old Hasanpour last month, but Nikbakht said he was informed of the verdict only last week. The lawyer said the Supreme Court also took up the case of another Kurdish activist who had been sentenced to death, 29-year-old Abdolvahed Hiva Botimar, but ended up sending it back to a lower court. Nikbakht said the ruling against Hasanpour upheld his original convictions in July for taking up arms against the ruling Islamic establishment, having unauthorized contacts with foreigners and helping several Iranian dissidents illegally escape abroad. Hasanpour, who was arrested last December, allegedly offered to provide a US State Department official with information on Kurdish issues in Iran, an act that was interpreted as spying. The lawyer denied his client ever took up arms against the Iranian government. He said Hasanpour at one point confessed to authorities that he passed military information to Kurdish opposition groups in Iran, but later withdrew the confession in court. The Paris-based media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders condemned the Supreme Court's ruling against Hasanpour, who wrote for Asou, a local magazine covering Kurdish issues, until it was banned in August 2005. He also worked for foreign news media including Voice of America and Radio Farda, another US-funded radio station. "We appeal to the international community to take every possible action to get this journalist released," the organization said in a written statement Friday. "This sentence should be taken very seriously as Iran has already executed more than 300 people since the start of the year."