Kurdish Pen- USA

Kurdish pen supports Mohamad Sedigh Kabudvand's candidacy for Noble peace prize

Kurdish Pen-USA

Official Press Release
International PEN-Kurdish PEN Center-United States Branch

January 2011

Kurdish PEN joins other human rights activists, individuals, organizations, parties, and social and civil rights activists in support of the candidacy of Mr. Mohamad Sidigh Kaboudvand for the 2011 Noble Peace Prize.
Kurdish PEN is affiliated with the larger International PEN, which has also joined the campaign in support of Mr. Mohamad Sedigh Kaboudvand’s nomination for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.
This prize has previously been awarded to human rights activist and defenders such as Liu Xiaobo "for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China" (Awarded in absentia - held as a prisoner in the People's Republic of China.), as well as Aung San Suu Kyi "for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights"(Awarded in absentia - held prisoner by the government of Myanmar.),and to the prominent Iranian lawyer Mrs. Shirin Ebadi "for her efforts for democracy and human rights, especially the struggle for the rights of women and children.”
Kurdish PEN strongly believes that Mr. Mohamad Sidigh Kaboudvand deserves the Noble Peace Prize for his life’s work reporting on and defending the human rights of the Kurds and other disadvantage minorities in Iran. He has risked his life in defense of others, and remains a prisoner of conscious in Iranian prison, subjected to severe conditions.

Mr. Mohamad Sedigh Kaboudvand is the founder of Kurdistan Human Rights Organization, which has emerged as a leading defendant of human rights in Kurdistan region of Iran. He was a journalist and director of a widely read weekly magazine (Payame Mardom), which reported the systematic violation of human rights in Iran, particular against the Kurdish minority. This weekly was closed down and subsequently banned. Mr. Kaboudvand was instrumental in creating a civil society network for Kurdish youth and activists. He is also the author of three books, Nimeh-ye Digar ("The Other Half," a book on women's rights), Barzakh-e Democracy ("The Stuggle for Democracy"), and Jonbesh-e Ejtemaii ("Social Movements"). He is the recipient of International awards such as the 2009 Hellman/Hammett, awarded by Human Rights Watch to writers punished by their governments for expressing opposition views, criticizing government officials, or writing about topics that the government does not want reported. He has also been awarded the International Journalist of the Year award at The Press Gazette British Press Awards.
In 2007, Mr. Mohammad Sadegh Kaboudvand was arrested by the Iranian authorities and kept in solitary confinement for seven consecutive months without a trial. It has since been reported that he was subjected to severe torture, and inhumane acts with little access to urgently needed medical care. His solitary confinement was followed by a harsh life sentence, reduced to ten years in prison after appeal. He has remained active even in confinement and continues to report on the conditions of prisoners in his position.

Thus, Kurdish PEN is supporting the nomination of Mr. Mohamd Sedigh Kaboudvand for the 2011 Noble Peace Prize. Kurdish PEN believes that aside from honoring the achievements and work of an individual activist, this nomination will also serve to shed light on the conditions of prisoners and dire human rights violations of ethnic minorities in Iran. Kurdish PEN urges all other organizations and peace laureates to support nomination.

Representative of Kurdish PEN, USA
Soraya Fallah