Committee of Human Rights Reporters – Kurdish journalist Adnan Hassanpour has spent 7 years in prison, making him the longest standing prisoner among journalists. He is serving his sentence behind bars in Sanandaj prison, deprived of his legal right to furlough, without a single hour of release during these years.
Leyli Hassanpour, the sister of the incarcerated journalist said in an interview with Committee of Human Rights Reporters regarding her brother, “Adnan has a good attitude but his physical condition is weakening due to being held behind bars for 7 years without any furlough.”
Despite requests from his family, his lawyer Mr. Saleh Nikbakht, and an endorsement for temporary release by the Prison Organization, judicial authorities have refused to grant furlough to the imprisoned journalist. His sister said, “In all these years Adnan’s only communication with his family has been via phone calls and occasional visitations without even one hour of furlough.” She requested that judicial authorities allow her brother his legal right to prison furlough.
Adnan Hassanpour is a prominent Kurdish journalist and passionate defender of the freedom of expression who was an editor of the weekly Aso, a Kurdish/Farsi publication that explored cultural rights. The government in 2005 shut down the publication and Hassanpour was summoned several times regarding his work.
On January 25, 2007 he was arrested and the summer of that year after a closed-door trial in the city of Marivan in Kurdistan province, Hassanpour was sentenced to death on the charges of “acting against national security” and “moharebeh” (enmity with God). The Kurdistan appellate court later upheld the death sentence. The evidence used against him was based solely on interrogation reports provided by the Intelligence Ministry, obtained during his detention. After two years of legal wrangling, with the request of his lawyer Saleh Nikbakht, the country’s Supreme Court reviewed the case and on January 30, 2009 the death sentence was commuted to 15 years in prison.
Hassanpour has a distinguished record as a journalist in Iran. The Cultural Bureau (Farhang va Ershad Islami) presented him with appreciation awards in 2004 and 2005. In addition to working as editor of Aso he was the managing director of Marivan Literary Association from 2001-2004 and edited the Association’s literary magazine, Rawt.
International groups have also recognized Hassanpour as a prominent journalist. In 2007 Hassanpour received the Press Freedom Award by the Swedish branch of Reporters without Borders. This prize is awarded to members of the press who convey dedication to freedom of expression despite pressures and violations of press freedom in their country. The same year he was also awarded the Press Freedom prize from Italy.