Iranian Kurdish farmer Yousef Kakehmami, already serving nine years in an Iranian prison after two unfair trials, has been sentenced to a further five years in prison after writing a letter to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran.
Yousef Kakehmami, 38, is a farmer from Iran’s Kurdish minority serving a nine-year sentence in Oroumieh Central Prison, West Azerbaijan Province.
The prison’s branch of the Office for the Implementation of Sentences told him on January 18 that he had been sentenced to a further five years in prison for “acting against national security" through collaboration with a Kurdish opposition group.
"He had received an unfair trial on 12 January, where he had no legal representation and there was only one hearing, before Branch One of the Revolutionary Court of Mahabad. The court did not provide him with a state-appointed lawyer, though it had said it would do so before the trial began. He has not received the written verdict. Yousef Kakemami had been convicted of the same charge after two unfair trials in 2006 and 2008, in which he received three- and six-year sentences, respectively," Amnesty International said in anUrgent Action appeal on Tuesday.
"Yousef Kakehmami, 38, was taken to Branch Six of the Office of the Prosecutor in Oroumieh several times in 2015, and questioned, without a lawyer present, in connection with charges of an entirely different nature. He was told he had been charged with 'spreading propaganda against the system' and 'communicating with foreign media and organizations', and questioned about a letter he had written in March 2015 to Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, detailing his recent transfer to a detention facility run by the Revolutionary Guards, where he said he had been tortured and otherwise ill-treated. He was also taken to a Ministry of Intelligence office in Oroumieh in April 2015 for questioning over these charges," Amnesty said.
When he appeared in court on January 12, 2016, however, he found he was being tried once again on a charge of “acting against national security" through his collaboration with the Kurdish opposition group.
According to Amnesty International, despite this new charge, the regime's prosecutors presented his letter to the UN Special Rapporteur as evidence against him, and the judge questioned him about his communication with human rights organizations.
"His latest conviction appears to be a reprisal for his communication with UN human rights mechanisms. His appeal hearing will be held on 16 April, before Branch Two of the Court of Appeal in Oroumieh," Amnesty said.
Mr. Kakehmami, who is from the village of Ghareh Balagh, near the city of Mahabad in West Azerbaijan Province, was first arrested by officials of the Iranian regime's notorious Ministry of Intelligence and Security on August 20, 2006.