Kurdish teacher arrested in Sine

Kurdish teacher and activist Keyûmerz Latifi has been arrested in Sine by the Iranian regime. The Kurdish PEN Centre is concerned and demands his immediate release.

Iran is ruled by an Islamist regime that gives the local Kurds little room to develop their own opportunities, such as the practice of the Kurdish language and certain cultural activities. In the city of Sine (Sanandaj), which is home to a number of important Kurdish cultural associations, the Kurdish community is having a particularly hard time. Above all, activists who dedicate themselves to the cultivation of the Kurdish language, culture and traditions are repeatedly confronted with repression. Not infrequently they end up in prison because the regime completely lacks respect and understanding for Kurdish culture.

The latest example of this anti-Kurdish repression is Keyûmerz Latifi. The 41-year-old activist and Kurdish language teacher was arrested in Sine on Tuesday. He had previously been detained for a fortnight in a detention camp run by Iran's Ministry of Intelligence, the Hengaw human rights organisation and the Rojhilat-based Kurdpa news agency, among others, reported. It is feared that Latifi was tortured by the intelligence service, as no information was given for days on the reasons for his arrest. However, Kurdpa has learned that he is accused of "collaborating with a Kurdish opposition party".

In the meantime, the Kurdish PEN Centre has also become involved. The writers' association is extremely concerned about the fate of Keyûmerz Latifi, but also about the Iranian secret service's treatment of the teacher's family members. A sister who tried to inquire about Latifi's reasons for arrest on 20 February was allegedly interrogated, threatened and beaten for several hours by officials from the Ministry of Intelligence. According to Hengaw, the woman was even threatened with rape. The Kurdish PEN Centre is alarmed and urges the authorities of the Iranian state to release Keyûmerz Latifi immediately.