Kurdish Political Prisoner Denied Meeting with Judge
The sister of Kurdish political prisoner Kamal Sharifi, Mahnaz Sharifi, spoke with the Campaign about her brother’s situation in prison. Sharifi said that while her brother continues his hunger strike in prison and is denied visitation rights, the family has met with the representative of the Supreme Leader in the city of Sanandaj to try and meet him. She also testified that the family’s attempts to meet with Kamal Sharifi have been met with arrest threats for his younger brother by the case judge.
“I don’t know what is happening to my brother and what ailments he may have. After his hunger strike, he asked for a prison visit by the judge in [the city of] Saghez, so that he could tell him his demands and break his hunger strike. He is in a prison where he shares a cell with addicts, thieves, and drug traffickers and he is the only political prisoner there. His constant demand was to be transferred to another prison near his residence,” Sharifi told the Campaign about the lack of attention to her brother’s only demand.
“The only information we have of him is through contacts of his cellmate who told us he is not well at all and he is only drinking water,” she added.
Kamal Sharifi, 38, is a political activist and journalist who has worked with Iraqi Kurdish media. He was arrested in the city of Saghez in 2008. He trial took place in the courts of Saghez and Sanandaj and he was sentenced to 30 years in prison. He has been barred from having any visitors and has only been able to call his family on the phone. He has been on hunger strike for the past 41 days and has not been allowed to call his family during this time.
“My father and brothers wrote a letter to the Sanandaj Information Office and were told ‘We will inform you. We will call your home,’ but nothing happened. We went to see Mr. Shaegh, who is the head of the Saghez Revolutionary Court, as well as the judge in my brother’s case. My father said ‘Give us only five minutes to visit with Kamal and to ask him to break his hunger strike,’ but he said ‘Let your son die. Why do you want to go?’ My brother was very upset, so he said, ‘Why do you say this? You have to judge fairly. All we need is five minutes to ask our brother to break his hunger strike. We love him, he is our brother, our parents love him.’ But the judge was upset by these words and immediately called and asked two officers to come and arrest my brother, too,” said Sharifi.
“My father, who has a heart condition, asked my brother to leave and to not say anything further. I don’t know what to do anymore. Today (Tuesday), my parents went to Sanandaj to see Ayatollah Khamenei’s representative and to ask him to grant them a meeting. I don’t know whether he rejected this request, too, or not,” she continued.
“Our request is for human rights organizations to know about my brother’s condition and to get the voices of my brother and all Iranian political prisoners to the world and to convey their demands,” pleaded Mahnaz Sharif. Addressing Iranian judicial authorities she said, “If you cannot meet the demands of political prisoners, at least don’t be disrespectful to them. My brother’s request was to meet with the town Judge. Was that a huge thing to ask?”