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Sept. 29, 2022


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Three years imprisonment


In prison

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Conspiring against national security
Propaganda against the regime

Masoud Kordpour In prison

Kurdish journalist, human rights activist and teacher Masoud Kordpour was arrested in March 2013, along with his brother Khosro, the founder and editor of the Mukerian news website.

Masoud Kordpour is a journalist and a senior member of Mukrian News Agency which covers human rights news in Kurdish regions of Iran. He has been arrested three times and has been tried twice.

Masoud Kordpour was arrested for the third time on September 20, 2022, in the streets of Bukan following the start of nationwide protests over thee murder of Mahsa Amini. When he was first arrested he was expelled from his job as a teacher. In his second trial, he was sentenced to three years in prison. He was released on December 13, 2015, but now he is detained once again and his whereabouts are unknown.

Masoud Kordpour was born in Bukan, a Kurdish city in the province of West Azerbaijan.

First Arrest

Masoud Kordpour was first arrested in March 2013, along with his brother Khosro, the founder and editor of the Mukerian news website. 
On September 21, 2008, Masoud Kordpour was sentenced to one year imprisonment on the charge of “propaganda against the state.” He was later released, in 2009, after serving his sentence. However, once he was released, the Administrative Violations Board for West Azerbaijan province issued an employment ban against Kordpour in the education sector and terminated his employment as a teacher. 

Second Arrest

On March 7, 2013, Masoud Kordpour went to the Mahabad Ministry of Intelligence Office to enquire about the condition and whereabouts of his brother, Khosrow Kordpour, who had been detained by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence. But when Masoud Kordpour arrived there he was also arrested. 

Jafar Kordpour, another of Masoud Kordpour's brothers, told Deutsche Welle Persian about his brothers’ arrest, saying: “My brothers did nothing illegal. Masoud and Khosrow were involved in human rights activism and monitored the situation of prisoners.”

He added: “There was no need for the unethical treatment of arresting them. If they were summoned, they would have gone to the Ministry of Intelligence Offices willingly and of their own accord.” Jafar Kordpour likened the behavior of security agents to “kidnapping.”
After his arrest, Masoud Kordpour was initially held in the Bukan Ministry of Intelligence Detention Center, but he was subsequently transferred to the Urmia Ministry of Intelligence Detention Center, on March 12, 2013. He spent the first three months of his temporary detention in solitary confinement.

In July 2013, Masoud Kordpour was transferred to Mahabad Central Prison.

Kordpour’s trial was heard in Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Courts of Mahabad, presided over by Judge Javadi-Kia. His trial took place over three sessions, the first of which took place on August 5, 2013.

Kordpour was charged with “gathering and colluding against the state,” “insulting the Supreme Leader of Iran,” and “propaganda against the state.” He was acquitted of the accusation of “insulting the Supreme Leader of Iran” during the second court session, which took place on November 9, 2013.

According to Kordpour's lawyer who was only informed of the court’s verdict verbally, Masoud Kordpour was eventually sentenced to three years imprisonment on the charge of “gathering and colluding against national security” and six years imprisonment on the charge of “propaganda activity against the state.”

After objecting to the lower court’s verdict, the case was referred for appeal. The Court of Appeals for Western Azerbaijan ruled that Kordpour’s sentence should be commuted to three years imprisonment. 

Letter from Prison

In the ninth month of his detention, Masoud Kordpour wrote a letter criticizing the political atmosphere in Iran and the treatment of criminals by judicial officials. An excerpt of the letter, which was published on the Mukrian News Agency website, reads: “The real separatists are those who fear the rule of law and the observance of human rights and those who try in a variety of ways to violate and infringe upon numerous areas of the lives of activists and citizens by disobeying the law and creating conflict between the people and the security and judicial institutions.”

Reaction from Iranian parliamentarians

In September 2013, six representatives from Iran's parliament, the Islamic Consultative Assembly, wrote a letter to the President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, in which they asked him to investigate the situation of Massoud Kordpour and Khosrow Kordpour. The letter called on the president to enforce justice and provide any necessary assistance in the Kordpour brothers’ case.

Six representatives signed the letter:  Abed Fattahi, representative of Urmia, Mohammad Qasim Osmani, representative of Bukan, Abdolkarim Hosseinzadeh, representative of Naqadeh and Oshnavieh, Hamed Qader Marzi, representative of Qorveh and Dehgolan, Omid Karimian, representative of Marivan and Sarvabad, and Salar Moradi, representative of Sanandaj, Kamyaran and Divan Darreh.

Reaction of a United Nations body 

In February 2014, The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention reacted to the arrest and imprisonment of Masoud Kordpour and his brother Khosrow.

At a meeting of the working group, on February 5, 2014, the group voted and agreed to publish a formal statement on the brothers’ arrest.
Reaction from Amnesty International

On December 13, 2013, Amnesty International published a statement in which it called for the immediate and unconditional release of the two imprisoned brothers. Amnesty also highlighted that their prison sentences were based on a report by the Ministry of Intelligence concerning their activities as journalists such as giving interviews to foreign media about the human rights situation in the province of Kurdistan. 

Masoud Kordpour was released from prison on December 13, 2015.
In 2014, the Kordpour brothers were awarded the international RAHA award, presented by the Südwind Association, an Austrian non-governmental organization, for their human rights work.

Open Letter to Rouhani

In January 2019, Masoud Kordpour wrote an open letter addressed to President Hassan Rouhani in which he called for a review of his expulsion from the West Azerbaijan Education and Teaching Organization.

Kordpour had worked as a teacher for 22 years before his November 2009 ban, by the organization's Lower Board of Administrative Violations, following his first arrest.

In this letter, Masoud Kordpour emphasized that his imprisonment, dismissal and ban from teaching had been the result of a fabricated legal case against him on the charge of “propaganda” against national security.

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