Worries have heightened over the well-being and fate of Edris Feqhi, a member of the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK), who was detained by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) almost 29 months ago.
Fatemeh Maghsoudi, Faqhi’s mother, expressed her frustration in a video obtained by the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN), saying that the security forces have not provided clear answers regarding her son’s situation.
The PJAK member was forcibly disappeared on 24 July 2021 after being injured by the IRGC.
The Faqhi family has made numerous attempts to obtain information about Edris Faqhi’s fate over the past 893 days, visiting the IRGC’s Intelligence Organisation detention facility at Al-Mahdi Barracks, the Ministry of Intelligence and courts in Orumiyeh and Bukan in West Azerbaijan Province. However, they have not received precise information on the whereabouts of the PJAK member.
In the video, Maghsoudi pleaded for transparency, asserting her son’s right to legal representation and her right to visit him.
She said: “My son is in prison and in the hands of the Islamic Republic [of Iran]. He has the right to have a lawyer, and I also have the right to visit him. I am ill and have a heart condition. The security institutions that I visit do not give me any answers. They once kissed my headscarf and said your son is alive, they swore by God and the Prophet that he is well; they said: he eats like us, drinks tea, he is fine, be reassured. I went, but they insulted me and disrespected me; they said unpleasant things to me. They do not give me an answer; they put me to work, they say go, your son is well, then later they say your son is not here. He has the right to a lawyer, he is in the hands of the Islamic Republic. I know my son is alive; I just want them to give me half an hour to see my son. I may die right now or in a moment later, I want them to let me see my son, show my son to me; not let me leave this world with the sorrow and pain of my child.”
The 67-year-old Kurdish mother has twice been arrested for protesting outside the IRGC’s intelligence building in Orumiyeh.
On 9 May 2023, Maghsoudi was arrested for staging a three-day sit-in outside the IRGC intelligence office in Orumiyeh, demanding accountability for her son’s fate.
She was handed over to the State Welfare Organisation in Orumiyeh on the orders of Behzad Sarkhanlou, an interrogator at Branch 6 of the city’s Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor’s Office.
On 11 May, Feqhi’s mother was released with a written undertaking not to continue protesting in front of Orumiyeh’s security institutions.
Conflicting information on Feqhi’s situation from IRGC Intelligence
On 21 February 2022, some members of Feqhi’s family gathered outside the office of the IRGC’s Intelligence Organisation in Orumiyeh to enquire about his condition.
The security and police officers at the scene ignored their demands and detained the prisoner’s mother, who was about to set herself on fire as a sign of protest, and several other family members for hours.
The police took them to one of the police stations near the IRGC Intelligence detention centre and interrogated them for several hours.
They were eventually released after being forced to pledge not to gather again outside the office of the Intelligence Organisation of the IRGC.
Concern has grown over the fate of Feqhi, who was detained and forcibly disappeared almost 29 months ago.
The IRGC’s Intelligence Organisation reportedly handed Feqhi over to the Ministry of Intelligence in Orumiyeh in the summer of 2022 after interrogating him.
In early September 2022, the Ministry of Intelligence in Sanandaj, Kurdistan province, summoned Maghsoudi and interrogated her for several hours over the release of a video on the first anniversary of her son’s enforced disappearance.
The interrogators told her that she had no right to wear a white scarf, known as the symbol of Kurdistan’s peace mothers, and travel to Orumiyeh to inquire about the fate of her child.
On 9 September 2022, Amnesty International said prosecutors and security and intelligence agents in West Azerbaijan province had “forcibly disappeared” the 36-year-old Kurdish political dissident Edris Feqhi since late July 2021.
During this period, IRGC intelligence officers and the Orumiyeh court have presented contradictory scenarios every time in response to the requests of the Feqhi family to learn about his fate.
They initially announced that Feqhi had been shot dead by IRGC forces and that they would “send his body photo and death certificate” to his family, but they have yet to provide the family with any proof.
In March 2023, after the detention of Feqhi’s family for several hours, plainclothes officer from the IRGC Intelligence Organisation met the detainees at the police station and informed them that Feqhi was alive and being held in the IRGC Intelligence Organisation’s detention centre.
The officer told the family that they had no right to visit or have contact with Feqhi until his interrogation was over.
In April 2023, Behzad Sarkhanlou, an interrogator at Branch 6 of the city’s Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor’s Office in Orumiyeh, made conflicting statements to the family of Edris Feqhi, saying that the PJAK member had managed to escape after clashes with the Revolutionary Guards and was later killed while fighting alongside Kurdish forces against Islamic State (IS) in Syria.
Former detainees claimed to have seen Feqhi
The confirmation and denial of Feqhi’s arrest by the security forces of the Intelligence Organisation of the IRGC is at odds with the findings of the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN).
On 28 September 2021, the KHRN published a report stating that evidence showed that the PJAK member who had reportedly been killed during a clash between PJAK and IRGC forces near Bukan on 24 July 2021 was in fact still alive.
The report said that Feqhi was being held in the detention facility of the IRGC’s Intelligence Organisation.
According to the KHRN, Feqhi was shot in the leg by IRGC forces during the clash, but managed to hide. Later, however, the IRGC’s Hamzeh Seyyed al-Shohada base sent a large number of forces to the area and arrested him wounded.
IRGC forces first transferred him to the security institution’s Arefian Hospital in Orumiyeh. They then took him to its detention centre.
He is currently being held in the public cell of the IRGC’s Haft-e Tir intelligence centre at the al-Mahdi base in Orumiyeh.
He has not completed his treatment and is in poor physical condition due to the serious injuries he has suffered.
At least two people who have been in the same detention centre over the past year have seen him in the facility’s infirmary.
PJAK confirmed Feqhi‘s arrest by IRGC forces
On 24 July 2021, forces from the IRGC’s Hamzeh Seyyed al-Shohada base ambushed a group of PJAK members in the mountainous heights of Alamabad village in Bukan, and a fierce clash ensued between the two groups for several minutes.
On 27 July 2021, the IRGC-affiliated Tasnim News Agency reported that two members of a Kurdish party had been killed and one wounded member had been arrested, citing the Hamzeh Seyyed al-Shohada base.
On 6 August 2021, the PJAK also confirmed that two of its members, Edris Feqhi, from Sanandaj, and Mohsen Ghaderi, from Bukan, had been killed in an armed clash with the IRGC near Bukan.
But after a while, PJAK issued another statement announcing that Mohsen Ghaderi was alive and that Feqhi had been arrested after being wounded by the Revolutionary Guards.