Tehran holds court hearings for two Kurdish political prisoners

The initial court hearing for Warisha Moradi and the second session for Pakhshan Azizi took place on 16 June at the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran on charges of “armed insurrection” (baghi), which carries the death penalty in Iran.

The Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) reported that Warisha Moradi, a member of the East Kurdistan Free Women Society (KJAR), was transferred from the women’s ward of Evin prison to Branch 15 of the court for her hearing. Her first session on 9 April was cancelled due to the absence of the second judge.

Moradi, who was previously charged with “armed insurrection” (baghi) by Branch Five of the Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor’s Office in Tehran, was denied the opportunity to defend herself in court. Judge Abolghassem Salavati also barred her lawyers from presenting a defence.

For the past month, Moradi has been denied contact or visits with her family and lawyers under Judge Salavati’s orders.

On 14 May, Salavati also ordered her transfer to Ward 209 of the Ministry of Intelligence in Evin Prison for additional interrogation and she was returned to the women’s ward after three days. In protest, Moradi and Azizi went on hunger strike for two days.

Azizi’s second hearing was held at Branch 26 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran, presided over by Judge Iman Afshari. Her first session, on 28 May, was held in the same branch on charges of “armed insurrection” (baghi).

She was arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence in Tehran on 4 August 2023 and taken to Ward 209 of Evin Prison. Several of her family members were arrested at the same time, but released after a few days of interrogation.

During her detention, Azizi was denied legal representation and subjected to pressure and torture to extract forced confessions. On 11 December 2023, she was transferred from Ward 209 to the women’s ward of Evin Prison.

Azizi, a social work graduate from Mahabad, West Azerbaijan Province, was first arrested by security forces on 16 November 2009 during a gathering of Kurdish students at Tehran University to protest against politically motivated executions in Kurdistan, and was released on bail after four months.

She had been living in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq for the past few years.

Moradi, from Sanandaj, was arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence on 1 August 2023 at the entrance to Sanandaj upon her return from Kermanshah, Kermanshah Province, where she had been involved in political and organisational activities.

She spent the first 13 days of her detention in the detention centre of this security institution in Sanandaj, and afterwards was transferred to Ward 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran.

During this period, she was subjected to pressure and threat of forced confessions, and on 26 December 2023, after enduring five months of solitary confinement, she was transferred to the women’s ward of Evin Prison.