Merchant Strikes Sparked by Recent Executions Lead to Backlash and Arrests
Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Kurdish merchants in Iran’s Kurdistan, Kermanshah, and West Azerbaijan provinces have shut down shop and gone on strike, heeding a call from Kurdish activists to organize a rebellion in response to the recent execution of three Kurdish political prisoners.
Loghman Moradi, Zanyar Moradi, and Ramin Hossein Panahi were hanged to death in dubious circumstances on September 8th, sparking international outcry and rebuke from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Kurdish opposition parties reacted to the untimely deaths of Moradi, Moradi and hossein Panahi by sounding the call to strike through Kurdish regions of Iran, inviting fellow Kurds to protest their comrades’ executions, HRANA previously reported.
The Kurdish shop owners began staging strikes September 12th, which have thus far led to the arrest of 16 political and civil activists in the Iranian Kurdish cities of Sanandaj, Marivan, Oshnavieh, Sardasht, and Ravansar. In addition to civic arrests, security forces have responded by spray-painting threats onto shuttered bodegas.
On Tuesday, Labor activist Khaled Hosseini was detained by security forces in Sanandaj–the Iranian city with the largest Kurdish population–along with Mozaffar Salehnia and Mokhtar Zarei, who were arrested one day later. All were transferred to Sanandaj Central Prison with a bail set at approximately $8000 USD (800 million IRR).
Meanwhile, the western border city of Marivan is experiencing the brunt of the crackdown: Moslem Bahrami, Suran Daneshvar, Aram Fathi, Mohammad Azkat, Dalir Roshan, Ahmad Tabireh, Nishervan Rezaei, Nooshirvan Khoshnazar, Aram Amani and Ahsan Partovi were all reportedly arrested there Tuesday.
Oshnavieh resident Rashid Naserzadeh was also detained on Tuesday, and released on bail a few hours later.
Jafar Rasoulpour was arrested the same day in Sardasht, West Azerbaijan Province. Bagher Safari, age 60, was taken in Wednesday by security forces in Ravansar, Kermanshah.
Zanyar and Loghman Moradi were put on death row after the Iranian authorities accused them of murdering the son of a Friday prayer leader in Marivan, a charge they have always denied. Censured by human rights organizations from the outset for its shoddy documentation and lack of evidence, the Moradi’s case was still incomplete at the time they were put to death.
The Moradis wrote an open letter, published in May 2017, detailing their ordeal along with case facts they alleged were constructed by the Ministry of Intelligence. The letter also described torture they experienced at the hands of authorities.
Ramin Hossein Panahi, the third executed Kurd, was tried and sentenced to death by Branch One of the Revolutionary Court in Sanandaj on a charge of “acting against national security by violating the rights of others” on January 16, 2018. His sentence was upheld in mid-April by the Supreme Court before being forwarded to the Execution of Sentences Unit.