Khosrow Kurdpour and Masoud Kurdpour, two Kurdish human rights activists and journalists, will receive the 2015 RAHA Human Rights Award, given annually by Südwind, during the session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The award honors those who exercise a profound and positive influence on human rights in Iran.
An independent jury has selected the two winners. Khosrow Kurdpour and Masoud Kurdpour are two brothers. Khosrow is the chief editor of Mukrian News Agency, an online news agency, has been involved in civil and human rights activities for more than two decades. The news agency which mainly covers news related to civil activists, political prisoners and human rights violations particularly in Kurdish cities.
Masoud Kurdpour also works the Mukrian News Agency and is the founder of the Kurdish Democracy and Human Right organization in Iran, a member of the NGO Defenders of the Environment, and holds a Master degree in Geography. In 2008 Masoud Kurdpour, who has 22 years of teaching experience in high school, had been sentenced for the third time to a one-year prison term for criticizing government policies toward Kurdish residents in recent years and was ordered to end his services as teacher in exchange for a one-time cash payment. Mr. Kurdpour said then that human rights-related activities, and teaching and keeping residents and the young informed, not only is not a crime, but rather those who are active in these areas must be encouraged and supported.
On March 8 and March 10, 2013 both brothers were arrested in the Kurdish city of Mahabad in western Iran. Khosrow Kurdpour was charged with moharaba (waging war on God) and corruption on earth through collusion for acting against national security, insulting the supreme leader, propaganda against the regime and spreading lies to disturb public opinion. Masoud Kurdpour was charged with collusion for acting against national security, insulting the supreme leader, propaganda against the regime and spreading lies to disturb public opinion. In November the court sentenced Khosrow Kurdpour to five years in jail at Tabriz Prison for collusion and to one-year jail and two-year exile in the southern city of Kerman. Masoud Kurdpour was handed down three years in jail for collusion and six months for propaganda against the regime. Both are still in prison.
UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has noted that the trial of the Kurdpour brothers is not in compliance with international human rights norms, citing denial of access to lawyer, 45-day delay in handling the case and the competence of the court. According to the committee, the charges leveled against Kurdpour brothers are vague and imprecise while international law requires that restrictions on the freedom of expression should be unambiguous and precise.
The working committee has concluded that arbitrary detention of Khosrow Kurpour and Masoud Kurdpour contravenes Articles 9, 10 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights and Articles 9, 14 and 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The committee has called on the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to immediately release Khosrow Kurdpour and Masoud Kurdpour, make their conditions compliant with international human rights treaties and indemnify them.