Qasim Abatebeh, a Kurdish political prisoner from Iran’s Kurdish-majority Mahabad, was executed in Qazalhasar prison, Karaj, after 14 years of incarceration. Arrested in Mahabad on 16 December 2008, Abatebeh underwent an 8-month long interrogation. He was eventually convicted on charges including ‘acts against national security’ and ‘corruption on earth’.
Simultaneously, concerns have escalated for Zanyar Aziznejad, a Kurdish journalist from Seqiz, Iranian Kurdistan. Currently detained in Turkey, Aziznejad is on the brink of extradition to Iran, a move that has alarmed human rights defenders who warn that on deportation the father of two is likely to be subjected to torture, harsh penalties and a long imprisonment. Aziznejad was arrested near Istanbul approximately four months ago, during a bid to relocate to Germany.
Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (HEDEP) Kocaeli MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu voiced concerns regarding Aziznejad’s precarious situation. “Zanyar Aziznejad is in Kocaeli, and they’ve informed him of his impending deportation. The Iranian authorities have already passed a death sentence for him. Turkish officials appear ready to hand him over, which must be prevented,” Gergerlioğlu posted on social media.
Gergerlioğlu also noted that alongside journalist Aziznejad, an 18-year old named Serberz was apprehended by Turkish security forces and transported by bus towards the border for the purpose of deportation. Since then, no information has been received regarding the whereabouts or condition of the young man.
Gergerlioğlu tagged several officials, official organisations, and Turkey’s prominent rights watchdog Human Rights Association in an X post:
“The individual on the left is Zanyar Aziznejad, a journalist and activist. On the right is a young man named Serberz, who is under 18. They were taken together. Yesterday, they put Serberz on a bus to deport him to the border, after which no news has been heard of him. Zanyar Aziznejad is still in Kocaeli, and they’ve told him he’ll also be deported. The Iranian government has issued a death sentence for Aziznejad. Turkish officials are preparing to hand Zanyar Aziznejad over to Iran. You must stop the extradition of Aziznejad to Iran, Mr. Ali Yerlikaya, Turkish Interior Minister.”