AP: Iran’s Supreme Court has upheld a death sentence against a Kurdish journalist accused of offering to provide the United States with information on Kurds in Iran, his lawyer said Saturday.
The Associated Press
By ALI AKBAR DAREINI
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Iran’s Supreme Court has upheld a death sentence against a Kurdish journalist accused of offering to provide the United States with information on Kurds in Iran, his lawyer said Saturday.
The ruling against Adnan Hasanpour, 27, 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, said attorney Saleh Nikbakht.
Hasanpour, who was arrested last December, allegedly offered to provide a U.S. State Department official with information on Kurdish issues in Iran, an act that was interpreted as spying.
The Supreme Court ruled against Hasanpour last month, but Nikbakht said he was informed of the verdict only last week.
Nikbakht 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.
“This is an unfair, unjustifiable verdict,” Nikbakht told The Associated Press.
Hasanpour 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 U.S.-funded radio station.
The Paris-based media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders condemned the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“We appeal to the international community to take every possible action to get this journalist released,” the organization said Friday. “This sentence should be taken very seriously as Iran has already executed more than 300 people since the start of the year.”
Iran, Turkey, Syria and Iraq all have large Kurdish populations near their common borders, and the governments are concerned about Kurdish nationalism. The Kurds have sometimes been called the world’s largest nation without an independent state.