Tuesday, August 19, 2008

4 year prison term for a Kurdish name and denouncing gender apartheid

Zeinab Bayazidi is being punished for choosing a Kurdish name for her shop and participating in the 1 Million petition camping against gender apartheid. According to reports received from The Iranian Women's Guild, she has received a 4 year prison term and has begun a hunger strike in protest to this charge.

Ms Bayazidi , 26 , and an activist of the 1 million campaign petition and a graduate of computer engineering , was summoned to the Intelligence offices of Mahabad (Iranian western Kurdish region). She was "trialed "with no attorney presence and exiled to Zanajan. She is passing her eight day of hunger strike at the moment.

Zinab had owned a health shop in Mahabad called "Zeylan", named after a known plant used for medical treatment. She threatened a number of times by the Intelligence offices of Mahabad to change the name claiming that the aforementioned name is being used by the insurgent group "PKK" and represented a "code". Since the name was a regular official Kurdish name and legally used by the registry offices of Kurdistan, she had decided to ignore the warnings.
A member of Ms. Bayazidi's family had informed the Iranian Women's Guild site that, the Intelligence Ministry of Mahabad had summoned her in a telephone contact for an interrogation 40 days ago. After being interrogated for 2 hours she was released and told to return in the next 2 days. She was arrested the second time.
According to this information, "She was refused an attorney and was sentenced with the charges almost immediately". They have claimed they were tricked by the court and Intelligence office, and have asked for an attorney.

All human right and gender equality activities in the Kurdish region have been hampered under the excuse of the presence of opposition groups and have grounded all activists. They are very easily charged and their files are tempered with, to make any legal defense, or support by other civil activists, difficult.

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