Kurdish activist and journalist Azizi to appear before court in Tehran in next weeks

The Kurdish activist and journalist Pakhshan Azizi has to appear before a revolutionary court in Tehran. The 39-year-old was tortured for four months in Ward 209 of Evin Prison to force a confession.

The Kurdish activist Pakhshan Azizi must soon appear before a revolutionary court in the Iranian capital Tehran. As the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) reported, the 39-year-old is accused of membership in an opposition group. The state news agency Rokna News reported that Azizi belonged to the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK). The human rights organization fears that the activist will face a long prison sentence. The brutal treatment of Azizi also suggests this.

According to KHRN, the social worker Pakhshan Azizi was arrested in Tehran on 4 August by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence. The regime also detained several of her family members. While they were released after several days of interrogation, Azizi was taken to the notorious high-security wing 209 of Tehran's Evin Prison, which is under the Ministry of Intelligence. There she was tortured both physically and psychologically.

For decades, the Iranian regime has used the method of putting pressure on prisoners held for political reasons in various ways with the aim of forcing confessions - for example through beatings, sleep deprivation, solitary confinement, torture and threats of torture. The alleged admission is then made public in order to discredit and criminalize criticism of the government. In Azizi's case, interrogators also tried to force a confession. In particular, she was pressured to admit the PJAK membership she was accused of, the KHRN said, adding that despite the adverse circumstances, torture and constant humiliation, she remained steadfast. She denied all allegations and stated that she had only worked as a social worker and translator in conflict areas for several years. She also went on a hunger strike to protest against the practice of using torture to force false confessions.

The KHRN also confirmed that Azizi was held in the notorious Ward 209 for over four months. She has been in the women's section of Evin Prison since last year. The regime denied her access to legal representation.

Pakhshan Azizi comes from Mahabad in East Kurdistan (Rojhilat) and also works as a journalist. She studied social work at Allameh Tabatabai University in Tehran, where she was arrested for the first time in November 2009. She was accused of taking part in student protests against the execution of Kurdish political prisoners. She was released on bail in March 2010.

It is still unclear when the trial against her will begin. However, the regime authorities informed her that the proceedings should begin in the next few weeks.