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EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

A place for discussion and exchanging ideas about Kurdistan issues here, also a place for sharing article & views and analysis about Kurdistan .

Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Apr 18, 2021 1:06 am

Armed Kurdish group kills
IRGC commander: KDPI


A commander from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was killed in an operation carried out by a Kurdish armed opposition group in Iran, a Kurdish party announced on Saturday

The “Zagros Eagles carried out an operation” against the IRGC in West Azerbaijan province, the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) tweeted. “IRGC commander Osman Hosseini was killed in the operation.”

The Zagros Eagles said Hosseini was killed on Friday.

The commander’s base issued a statement vowing it would revenge his death “at the right time and place,” IRNA reported.

According to the KDPI, Hosseini was responsible for the death of one of their Peshmerga, Rahim Gargoli, who was killed in clashes with the IRGC in 2017.

The KDPI is a Kurdish armed opposition party that has waged an on-and-off armed war against the Iranian government since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. It is based in the Kurdistan Region. Iran occasionally shells the area on the pretense of targeting the group.

The Zagros Eagles are an armed opposition group who appear to be affiliated with KDPI, though the party denies the connection. “Our party does not have any relation with the Zagros Eagles, however we do disseminate some of their activities against the Islamic Regime in Iran,” KDPI’s Loghman Ahmedi told the Norwegian Landinfo in a report published in 2017.

Kurdish opposition groups in recent years have used front groups to do their bidding inside Iran to avoid antagonizing the Kurdistan Region authorities. A number of the Iranian Kurdish parties including the KDPI have transferred their bases from populated areas of the Kurdistan Region to the border with Iran.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which has cordial relations with Tehran, has called on armed Iranian Kurdish opposition groups not to launch attacks against neighboring countries and Iranian security forces from Kurdistan Region territory.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/170420213
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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Apr 24, 2021 10:51 pm

Facebook removes accounts

Facebook has removed hundreds of social media accounts they say are run by an exiled Iranian opposition group in Europe

"We removed a network of over 300 Facebook accounts, Pages, Groups, and accounts on Instagram that appear to be run from a troll farm located in Albania and operated by the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK),” reads the company’s monthly report on “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” which constitutes a mediated, collective effort to sway the public will “for a strategic goal.”

“They targeted primarily Iran and also global audiences with content related to Iran. The network violated our policy against foreign interference which is coordinated inauthentic behaviour on behalf of a foreign entity," adds the report released on Tuesday.

Iran considers the MEK a terrorist organization and blames it for thousands of deaths since the group took up arms against Tehran, including the bombing of a gathering of Islamic Revolutionary leaders in 1981 that killed 75 people, among them Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, the second-in-command to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

The majority of MEK members have taken refuge in Europe and the US, increasingly so after the US toppled the Baath regime in Iraq in 2003, where they had military bases, which the neighboring Iran considered a threat to its own security.

According to the Facebook report, past members have claimed MEK is running a troll farm at the group's compound, Ashraf 3, which hosts some 2,800 exiled Iranians near the Albanian capital of Tirana.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/world/07042021
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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat May 22, 2021 4:24 pm

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Eastern Kurdistan Peshmerga clash with Iranian forces

Clashes between Peshmerga of an armed Kurdish group and Iranian forces in West Azerbaijan province early Thursday morning left casualties on both sides, the Kurdish group announced on Friday

The Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) said Peshmerga clashed with Iranian forces on the main road between the cities of Mahabad and Bokan. Two Peshmerga were killed, identified as Enwer Nasiri and Sohrab Khedirpor.

According to the KDPI, three Iranian intelligence agents and two members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) were also killed, “including a commander.”

The KDPI have waged an on-and-off war against the Iranian state since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. It is based in the Kurdistan Region though its forces frequently cross the border.

Tehran has not immediately commented on the clash.

In April, forces affiliated with the KDPI killed an IRGC commander.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/21052021
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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jun 17, 2021 9:25 pm

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Kurdish civil activist arrested

A Kurdish civil rights activist was arrested at his home in Mariwan, Kurdistan province on Thursday morning and transferred to an unknown location, his family told a human rights watchdog

Security forces entered Aram Fathi’s house and “resorted to violence” when his mother protested, a relative of Fathi told Paris-based Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN), an NGO that monitors human rights violations in Iran. The security forces “claimed they had a court order,” the relative said.

The security forces also seized Fathi’s personal belongings, including his cell phone, laptop and books.

Fathi, a poet, is part of a team of civil activists working to end the death penalty in Iran, one case at a time, trying to get hanging sentences commuted. Speaking to Rudaw English in March, Fathi said he and his fellow activists were at risk of being arrested and have faced backlash for their activism, mainly for the political cases they advocate on behalf of.

Fathi has been arrested and interrogated several times over the past years. His house was raided by Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officers in January last year, but he was not at home. He later visited the IRGC intelligence department and was arrested, according to KHRN.

He was also arrested in 2018 and in 2016, and has faced charges of “disturbing public order” and “disturbing public opinion,” according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).

Iranian authorities have tightened the noose on labor activists, journalists, satirists, environmentalists, anti-death penalty campaigners, and researchers, since the heightening of US-Iran tensions and the re-imposition of US sanctions on Iran in 2018, detaining them in droves and sentencing some in trials whose fairness has been questioned.

Tens of thousands of people are held as political prisoners in Iranian jails, for charges including advocating for democracy and promoting women's or workers' rights.

Ethnic minority groups, including Kurds and Azeris, are disproportionately detained and more harshly sentenced for acts of political dissidence, according to a report from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/170620211
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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jun 17, 2021 9:32 pm

Kurdish voters apathetic

Arif Amini has cast a ballot in every single Iranian election since he turned 18, believing that elections are how to bring about change. But this year, with high inflation, joblessness, and poverty, he decided he will not vote, not even for his brother who is running for a seat on the city council

“The economic situation over the past few years has driven even the middle class into poverty. I was a school teacher for 30 years. Now my salary does not cover my life expenses so I am working as a taxi driver,” 58-year-old Amini, a retired teacher from Saqqez in northern Kurdistan province, told Rudaw English via Telegram.

“For years I have participated in elections in hope of change, however it gets worse every year,” Amini said. “One of my brothers is a candidate for Saqqez city council, however I have decided to not even vote for my brother.”

Iran’s presidential and city council elections will take place on June 18. Parliamentary elections in February 2020 saw an all-time low turnout of only 43 percent and turnout for the vote this week is expected to be even lower. Activists and civilians have launched a boycott campaign on social media that is attracting a lot of support, despite threats of prosecution.

“Those who violate the principles and encourage people to boycott elections will be dealt with through the law,” Chief of Police Sardar Hussein Ashtari said on May 28.

The economy crumbled under outgoing President Hassan Rouhani after Washington withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018 and began imposing harsh sanctions, and the global coronavirus pandemic hit. Rouhani was a reformist and people who believed that voting for him could fix some of Iran’s problems no longer hold the same hope.

“I had participated in every presidential election and would always vote for the reformists. Last election I was an active member of Hassan Rouhani’s campaign center in Kurdistan province,” Omed Ahmadi*, a shop owner in Sanandaj in Kurdistan province, told Rudaw English.

“However, the promises that the reformists made all turned out to be lies,” he added. “The economy collapsed, the price of housing and goods increased ten times, and people lost all their savings.”

“I realized that elections will not change this terrible situation, in fact it will make it worse, and therefore I will not participate again,” Ahmadi said.

The Kurdish provinces in Iran’s west have always struggled with high unemployment, few job opportunities because a lack of investment, and a shortage of services. Electoral turnout in these areas is always lower than elsewhere in Iran.

It is around 11 in the morning and a couple of general laborers are standing in the heat of the sun at Sanandaj’s Cyrus intersection. They have not had any luck finding work today.

“We find work only around 10 days a month, and we work for 150,000 tomans (around $6) per day, which we can't really buy much with. Everything has gotten more expensive. It is hard to feed your family and yourself,” Pizhman Karimi, a 27-year-old married man, told Rudaw English.

“Those who are candidates for the presidency and the city councils at first promise everything, but as we have seen, none of it turns out to be true. They all work to fill their own pockets,” he said, using a handkerchief to wipe the sweat off his neck.

Just 37 percent of Iranians intend to vote on Friday, according to a poll by the Iranian Students Polling Agency (ISPA) and published by the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA). Hardliner Ebrahim Raisi is tipped to win.

Noshin Khani, 35, has been working at a boutique store in Sanandaj’s Banta mall for a few years. She is unmarried and frustrated by the current situation in Iran.

“The truth is in our society, no one has any hopes in marriage anymore. Because of the bad economic situation, no youth would give themselves such responsibility. And even those who are getting married, after a while their marriage fails due to lack of jobs,” Khani told Rudaw English.

“We have tried different elections. The candidates always promise better lives but it gets worse. I am a psychology graduate, but I have not found a job [in my field],” she said. “I am here working in this store for a 1.2 million tomans (around $50) so I wouldn’t be bored at home.”

Empty promises from candidates about women’s rights also anger her.

“Every time, ahead of elections, the candidates talk about freedom and rights of women. However when the elections end, if a woman’s veil is slightly askew and her hair shows, or if she wears something short, the police come,” Khani said. “If that is the case, then not voting is so much better than having people’s feelings played with every time, giving them false hope without any action.”

There is some more enthusiasm for local city council elections than the presidential vote.

“The city council elections are decentralized democracy and people should not be careless about it. I believe they should participate in this election because loyal and caring people enter that council. They can solve many problems,” 37-year-old activist Dler Qawami from Sanandaj told Rudaw English.

“I have personally worked with a few members of the city council for social and environmental activities, and they were helpful and supportive,” he said. “The elections are the only hope for us to believe in fixing the unstable situation. Therefore, unlike most people, I believe that we should not turn our backs on the polling stations, for they are the only way to raise our voices.”

* Names have been changed to protect the speaker's identity at their request.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/14062021
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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Jun 28, 2021 10:03 pm

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Musicians preserve centuries-old traditions

A group of Kurdish musicians and vocalists from northeastern Iran are keeping hundreds of years’ worth of oral history alive through traditional music and poetry

‘Em,’ Kurdish for we, come from Khorasan, currently a province in eastern Iran, but historically perceived as a much wider region in the country’s northeast. With more than three million Kurds living in the area, the historic music and art of Khorasani Kurds have resisted extinction for hundreds of years, transmitting oral history from generation to generation.

The group consists of around 48 people, all of whom have been taught by renowned musicians from Khorasan. The main instrument played is the Dotar, a traditional instrument with only two strings.

Due to the Iranian government’s opposition towards female artists performing solo, a group like Em has to make sure their lead singers are accompanied by a male voice.

“Generally in Iran, there are many obstacles facing female artists. The Iranian government are somehow irritated by the idea of women performing solo ,” leader of the group, Roya Ismailiyan, told Rudaw English on Tuesday. “If we want to perform in Iran, we have to do it as a group and there cannot be a solo female voice.”

The performance of Kurdish music, especially that of Khorasan Kurds, has been frowned upon by successive Iranian governments.

Attempts at writing down the musical history of Khorasan have not been effective over the years, and Ismailiyan is now trying to engage the youth with this form of folk music.

“I learned the Khorasani way of singing and music through my mother, who also learned it from her mother, and now I have passed it on to my daughter,” she said.

“I cannot speak for the generations before me, however, right now I want to engage the youth and raise their interest in this type of folk music, which is why we are trying to document the art, and in addition rearrange the music in a way that appeals to their modern sense of music as well.”

The group consists mainly of young people, most of whom are teenagers and were recruited by Ismailiyan’s daughter, Yalda Abbasi, who herself is a renowned artist on both a local and international level.

“We were gathered as a group around 18 months ago by Yalda Abbasi. I personally have been playing the Dotar for ten years now, since I was seven years old,” Ali Ansari, who plays the Dotar and the Kamancheh, told Rudaw English.

For a group this young, they aim high

“What we are trying to do is introduce this art to a wider audience and keep it alive, in a way that has a new touch to it,” Ansari said.

While Khorasani folk music is hundreds of years old, what is unique about it is the way each artist performs differently.

“We learn from our parents. For example, I have learned from both my mother and grandmother, and my daughter from my mother and me. While each other’s style influences our singing, we all manage to add a pinch of our own style to it, and sing in our own way,” said Ismailiyan.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/27062021
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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Jun 30, 2021 9:14 pm

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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Jul 04, 2021 11:11 pm

The European Union and Kurds in Iran

The European Union (EU) has no specific policy regarding the greater Kurdish question, but deals with the question in the framework of the four countries greater Kurdistan is part of. Therefore, it is important to first know the EU’s view on Iran

The EU sees Iran as an influential and powerful country. Apart from that, given Iran’s large population, they see it as a good market for European companies. Iran is a country rich in natural resources such as natural gas and oil, which Europe needs. All this has led the EU to have a consistently stable and strong relationship with Iran, despite the criticism that Europe levels against the country when it comes to human rights and Iran’s nuclear program.

In 2017, two years after the 2015 nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), trade between Iran and the EU reached around 21 billion euros. This created an opportunity for further growth and gave Iran the chance of becoming one of the main business partners of Europe. However, the deal falling apart once again put Iran under severe sanctions, eventually pushing the EU-Iran relationship almost to zero.

The Kurdish question in Rojhelat (eastern Kurdistan, Iranian Kurdistan) in EU’s view

The EU, neither formally nor behind the curtains, has a policy regarding Rojhelat, nor has it made formal or informal relations with the Kurds in Rojhelat. There are three reasons for this.

    First, the reality is that the Kurdish question in Rojhelat in comparison to the three other parts of greater Kurdistan is not well-known to the outside world. This is one of the reasons that has led the EU to not have a specific view on the Kurdish question in Rojhelat.

    The second reason is related to the fact that, despite criticizing the human rights situation in Iran, the EU believes Iran has great geostrategic importance and is a main actor in maintaining stability in the Middle East. For that reason, the EU has not had nor will have any strategy towards changing the regime in Iran.

    The third reason is that Kurds in Rojhelat have not been able to form a united front and become a strong actor for the present and future of Iran, attracting international attention.
EU and the Kurdish question in Rojhelat, present and future

The Iranian regime’s violations against Kurds have been mentioned in some of the 15 decisions made by the European parliament over the past ten years on Iran. The European Union’s foreign policy office has also at times released statements of concern (such as after the death sentence given to Shayan Saidpour, aged 17, in 2020). However, all these have been discussed in the wider context of “human rights in Iran” and not in the context of the Kurdish question.

The EU now, apart from diplomatic pressure and helping some Iranian activists, has no specific political action towards Iran. A popular opinion, which is also a source of hope for the Kurds, is that with increasing sanctions and punishments, and with further isolation of Iran, the Islamic regime is on the verge of collapse. However, the Kurds have not made any preparations for this scenario and the EU has no intention of changing the regime.

Kurds in Rojhelat need to be more forceful in expressing their rights and objectives. The Kurds in Rojhelat have a strong precedent in powerful lobbying in Europe, led by the late Dr. Abdulrahman Ghassemlou in the 1970s and 1980s, from which Kurds from the south also benefited. However, Kurds from Rojhelat were not successful in maintaining strong lobbying and using the Kurdish community in a more effective way to achieve their political goals. The Kurdish parties in Rojhelat not only have not established a united front, but they have not tightened their circles, establishing relationships with social democratic parties in Europe.

This is at a time where they have the opportunity to have a stronger presence in European capitals, especially in Brussels, which is the political capital of the EU. In order to attract European countries, it is important and necessary for the main parties in Rojhelat to come up with a united front when it comes to their foreign policy and widen their lobbying and activity circles. That is the only way Kurds in Rojhelat will be able to become part of the bigger picture as a strong actor in Iran, and attract the attention of European countries and the EU authority.

This is the fourth in a series of articles looking at EU policies and interests in relation to the Kurdish question in all four parts of Kurdistan.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/opinion/13062021
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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Jul 07, 2021 10:56 pm

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Daughter of Kurdish activist arrested

The daughter of a jailed Kurdish political activist was detained on Tuesday in Sanandaj, the capital of Iran's Kurdistan province

Nahid Kamangar, a university student, is “not personally involved in politics and her arrest appears to have been in connection with the political activities of her father and husband,” the Paris-based Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) said.

Kamangar is the daughter of political activist Hossein Kamangar, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison in March on charges of “instigating armed uprising against government and the state” for membership of the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK), an Iranian Kurdish armed opposition group.

Her husband, Rashed Montazeri, was arrested with her father in January 2019, before being released on bail four months later.

Nahid has been “repeatedly summoned and interrogated” by intelligence during her father and husband’s detention, the KHRN added.

“Security officers asked her to cooperate and make a confession against her imprisoned father, but she refused to accept the interrogators’ demands. Therefore, she was detained temporarily and transferred to the women’s ward of the Juvenile Detention Centre of Sanandaj,” KHRN cited a source as saying.

Tens of thousands of people are held as political prisoners in Iranian jails, for charges including advocating for democracy and promoting women's or workers' rights.

In 2019, at least 2,000 people were arrested in Iran for joining armed Kurdish forces or for activism deemed suspicious, according to data provided to Rudaw by KHRN founder Rebin Rahmani. In 2020, at least 400 people were arrested.

Ethnic minority groups, including Kurds and Azeris, are disproportionately detained and more harshly sentenced for acts of political dissidence, according to a report from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran.

Iran also uses the arrest of family member of detainees to exert pressure on people in custody.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/07072021
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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Aug 07, 2021 11:07 pm

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Official from KDP-I killed in Erbil

The body of a senior official from an Iranian Kurdish opposition party was found dead on Saturday in a hotel room in Erbil bearing signs of torture, according to a statement from the party accusing Iran of the murder

The official belonged to the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDP-I) and has been a Peshmerga fighter for 22 years.

Mousa Babakhani, a member of the party’s central committee “was assassinated at the hands of the Islamic Republic in Erbil,” the party’s media outlet published on Saturday.

The statement added that Babakhani’s body was found at the Guli Sulaimani hotel in Erbil showing “serious marks of torture.” They claim the opposition leader was “kidnapped by two terrorists of the Islamic Republic on Thursday.”

Kurdistan internal security forces, known as Asayish, confirmed in a statement that the body belonged to Babakhani and that an investigation is underway to determine the circumstances of his death.

The KDP-I is a Kurdish party that in 2006 split from the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), which has waged an on-and-off armed war against the Iranian government since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Both parties are headquartered in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq like other Kurdish armed groups opposed to Iran.

This is not the first targeting of an official in the party. A senior commander of the party, Qadir Qadiri, was found dead in March 2018 in Hartal village, Ranya district, near Sulaimani’s border with Iran. He had been shot 21 times. The KDP-I claimed Qadiri killing was ordered by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Erbil’s criminal court last week sentenced three people to death in relation to the murder. The other two convicted in the case did not confess to their involvement and were sentenced under Iraq’s penal code regarding giving false information or withholding information.

Iranian forces have sporadically shelled the Region’s border areas over the years, targeting bases belonging to the Kurdish opposition groups from Iran, including the KDP and KDP-I.

The IRGC fired surface-to-surface missiles in September 2018, striking the Kurdistan Region camps of the KDPI and KDP-I, while they were holding leadership meetings which killed 17 and injured 46.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/070820212
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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Oct 19, 2021 2:34 am

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Continued execution, torture and detention

The Kurdistan Human Rights Association released its September report on the violations of rights by the Iranian state. Accordingly, several detainees and kolbars were killed, dozens of people were detained and tortured

The Kurdistan Human Rights Association (KMMK) report on violations of rights in September raises concern over the increasing number of executions, murders, suicides, torture and detentions in East Kurdistan.

According to the report, a person was executed in East Kurdistan and 3 detainees died suspiciously in prisons. The detainees are believed to have been killed by state officials. One person fell victim to extrajudicial execution by the state forces.

Giving information about the wave of arrests, the report said, “We have observed continued arrests and detentions in Urmia, Sine, Kirmasan, Mahabad, Xurremabad, Ilam, Hamedan and Loristan. 49 citizens, civilians and activists have been arrested or sentenced to prison. 9 citizens were sentenced to prison in September.” The report added that those detained were subjected to violence.

In September, kolbars were also subjected to extrajudicial executions. The report revealed that at least 8 kolbars were killed and 6 others were injured during the course of the month.

Kolbars and kasibkars are the target of systematic attacks by the Iranian state. Dozens of people are being murdered under total impunity. Kolbars are trying to earn their living despite the risk for their lives due to harsh weather conditions and dangerous geographic conditions.

Kolber or "kolbar" is derived from the Kurdish words "kol" and "bar". “Kol” means "back", bar means "load". Kolbers make a living by carrying loads across the dangerous border line. These goods include cigarettes, mobile phones, covers, household items, tea and rarely alcoholic beverages. The goods brought in are sold at very high prices in commercial centers such as Tehran. However, kolbars who do this job can receive a very small amount of wages.

Kasibkar is the person who takes over the delivery of the goods that kolbars carry to South Kurdistan and finds buyers by traveling from city to city.
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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 27, 2021 9:18 pm

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Festival revives Kurdish equestrian culture

BUKAN, Iran - An equestrian festival showcasing Kurdish breeds of horses was held last weekend in Bukan, in Iran’s West Azerbaijan province

Kurdish horses are renowned for their strength and were once central to life in the mountains. Festival organizers and horseback riders are hoping to revive interest in the horses.

“There was a time when these horses lived in this city. They were once a part of our culture. They were part of our families. Now they’re gone,” said Arish Babamiri, a horseback rider from Bukan.

Training centres have been opened in several cities, attracting a lot of attention from people who want to learn how to ride and boosting efforts to revive equestrian culture.

Historically, horses played a significant role in Kurdish life as transportation for villagers in remote and mountainous areas, and to carry weapons and food for Peshmerga forces during revolutions.

Several Kurdish breeds have been identified, including the Jaf, Afshari, and Sanjabi.

“There’s a clear distinction between Kurdish and other breeds. It’s obvious what they were used for. They were used in the past for traveling and fighting. They are very strong horses,” said Aram Hemin, a horseback rider from Sanandaj.

Link to Article - Video:

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/27102021
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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Oct 29, 2021 10:47 am

Kurdish prisoners facing death

Kurdish prisoners in Iran transferred to ‘unknown location’ at the risk of execution: watchdogs

Two Kurdish prisoners are at the risk of execution after they were transferred to an unknown location from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) detention center in Urmia in West Azerbaijan province, human rights watchdogs reported on Tuesday.

Mohedin Ebrahimi, a 40-year-old from Oshnavieh in West Azerbaijan province was arrested after being shot and injured in November 2017 by Iranian forces. He was transferred to IRGC intelligence detention center in Urmia, where he was “interrogated and tortured,” Paris-based Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) reported.

Ebrahimi was first sentenced in August 2018 on charges in participation of opposition parties, and then again in January 2020 on the same charges.

The other prisoner, Mohedin Tazaward, was arrested in October 2018 by Iranian intelligence and sentenced to death on charges of “membership of Salafi groups.” He was also transferred to the Urmia detention center following interrogation.

Kurdish human rights watchdogs reported that both were transferred to “an unknown location” on Tuesday without an explanation, noting that they are at risk of being executed.

Iran subjugates many of its detainees to enforced disappearances, holding them in undisclosed locations and hiding their fates and whereabouts from their families, a 2021 Amnesty International report said.

Iran is also one of the biggest death penalty enforcers in the world, with its number of death sentences branded “troubling” by UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran Javaid Rehman in a March statement.

More than 230 people were executed in 2020, data collected by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) showed. The report added that more than 72% of executions were done in secret and not reported by the government.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/26102021

Has Habibollah Latifi been executed?
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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Nov 05, 2021 2:21 am

Torture in Iran’s 'secret' prisons

A new report from a human rights monitor documents the use of torture in what it says is a network of secret detention centres run by Iran’s intelligence ministry and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Kurdish areas of western Iran, based on extensive interviews with former detainees, many of whom were arrested for their political activities and association with Kurdish opposition groups

Former detainees described being repeatedly interrogated, sat with their back to the interrogator and flanked by two prison guards who would “beat me regularly if they did not hear the answers they looked for,” recalled one. They were beaten with batons, hoses, sticks, often to the point of passing out.

The report released Friday by the France-based Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) details the existence of secret detention centres run by the Ministry of Intelligence and the IRGC’s intelligence branch in the Kurdish cities of Kermanshah, Sanandaj, and Urmia, and the use of torture in these facilities.

Prison conditions in Iran are under the spotlight after footage leaked this summer showed grim conditions and abuse in Tehran’s Evin prison. The leak forced an apology from the head of Iran’s prison authority and the promise of an investigation. “The judiciary is determined to deal severely with those who disrupt the security of society and play with the lives of the people and disrupt the well-being of the people,” said deputy chief justice Mohammad Mossadegh Kahnemoui.

Former detainees told KHRN that common torture techniques include being tied to a bed and flogged with cables on the soles of their feet, or hung from the ceiling for several hours, “with arms fully stretched and only toes reaching the floor.”

Others reported sitting in a chair with a hole in the seat and weights attacked to their testicles or administration of electric shock to their testicles and other sensitive body parts. “The severity of the pain caused by this device to the head and chest lasts for several days,” said a civil activist who was held for several weeks in a detention centre run by the Ministry of Intelligence in Urmia.

At an IRGC detention centre in Urmia, a former political prisoner said there is a courtyard where guards carry out mock executions. “Security interrogators tie the detainee’s hands and feet and take him to another area near the detention centre, where he gets told that he would be shot for not cooperating with the interrogators. Several armed people would also come to the scene, and the scenario continues with shots fired in the air or targeting the person’s legs until he confesses,” he recounted.

Other former detainees said their interrogators threatened to rape their wife or family members.

A woman held in Kermanshah on charges of spying for a political party based in the Kurdistan Region said she was repeatedly raped for two months. She said she would be tied up and drugged. In a stupor, she realized a cleric was touching her body. “I could feel his breath on my neck. I was suffering from moment to moment, but because my hands and feet were tied, I could do nothing but scream. He forcibly took off my clothes and raped me,” she said.

General conditions in the detention centres are harsh, according to KHRN. Former detainees said they would be pushed down the stairs, they were blindfolded when moved between rooms, lights were kept on 24 hours a day, they were allowed just 10 to 20 minutes of fresh air a day, and some were put into solitary confinement for months.

“It is also a full-blown psychological war when you are in a small multiple-occupancy cell with several people, with an open toilet and a camera over your head,” said a civil activist who was detained in Urmia.

KHRN documented three deaths from torture in these facilities.

Nasser Issazadeh was arrested in 2010 when he tried to join a Kurdish opposition party and was tortured to death in IRGC’s al-Mahdi Detention Centre in Urmia, according to the monitor.

Ebrahim Lotfollahi, a Kurdish student activist, was arrested January 6, 2006 in Sanandaj. He was buried in middle of the night by security forces nine days later. Officials claimed he committed suicide, but his family believes he died from torture.

Sarou Ghahremani from Sanandaj was arrested during protests in January 2018. His body was returned to family 11 days later and his mother said she saw evidence of beatings on her son’s body. Officials claimed he was killed during a police chase.

Amnesty International has documented 72 suspicious deaths in Iranian custody since 2010. More than half appear to have died from torture and ill-treatment. “In 46 cases, informed sources including the relatives and/or fellow inmates of the deceased reported that the death resulted from physical torture or other ill treatment at the hands of intelligence and security agents or prison officials,” Amnesty said in September.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/301020211
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Re: EASTERN KURDISTAN NEWS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Nov 17, 2021 1:36 pm

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Stop killing and injuring kolbars

A Kurdish member of the Iranian parliament from West Azerbaijan province’s Mahabad city criticized state killings of semi-legal porters or kolbars in border areas, Iranian media reported on Tuesday

"Unfortunately, every year we see hundreds of workers and fuel users killed and injured, and hundreds of children, minors and many families are punished,” the MP, Jalal Mahmoudzadeh, told Kurdpress, a media outlet supported by the government, in an interview.

Mahmoudzadeh had addressed the minister of interior in parliament saying “Why do not you stop killing and injuring kolbars and fuel porters? When are you going to organize cross-border exchanges and establish kolbari cooperatives?” as quoted by Kurdpress.

Kolbars are semi-legal porters who transport untaxed goods across the Kurdistan Region-Iran border and sometimes the Iran-Turkey border. They are constantly targeted by Iranian border guards and are sometimes victims of natural disasters. Many are pushed into the profession by poverty and a lack of alternative employment, particularly in Iran's Kurdish provinces.

"The lack of job-creating efforts and the lack of employment for young people to provide for the family have caused people in the border areas to turn to kolbari and fuel porting,” Mahmoudzadeh told Kurdpress in the interview.

Families of kolbars are among the main victims of these attacks by Iranian border guards, as the transport of goods is their primary source of income.

According to data compiled by Paris-based Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) for the first ten months of this year, at least 39 kolbars died and at least 100 were wounded by various incidents, including shootings by border guards, accidents and sicknesses.

An estimated 52 kolbars were killed and 147 injured in 2020, according to data given to Rudaw English by KHRN. Forty-six of those killed were shot by Iranian or Turkish border guards.

Iranian state media (IRNA) in April said a plan was presented in parliament regarding amending laws and punishments for kolbars. Authorities are making efforts to legalize the profession to “strengthen the economy and deprived people,” added IRNA.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/171120211
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