The Kurdish singer ‘Peyman Mirzazadeh’ ended his hunger strike at Orumiyeh Central Prison. He had begun a hunger strike five days ago in protest to being sentenced to 100 lashes and two years of imprisonment.

A reliable source has told Kurdish Human Rights Network (KHRN) that Peyman Mirzazadeh had ended his hunger strike upon the authorities’ favourable promises and his cellmates requests. “Due to being on hunger strike after enforcement of his flogging sentence (100 lashes) and given the injuries sustained, Peyman Mirzazadeh could face serious health issues if he continued his hunger strike. Therefore, his cellmates have urged him to end his hunger strike, given the prison authorities’ favourable promises. “, this source stated.

Prison officials have promised to investigate the new charges against this prisoner while urging him not to release any information on being flogged. In recent days, however, release of the information about enforcement of Mirzazadeh’s sentence of 100 lashes has received widespread coverage in the Kurdish, Persian and even global media. Moreover, Amnesty International released a statement yesterday that the flogging of Kurdish singer and prisoner of conscience Peyman Mirzadeh demonstrated the shocking brutality of Iran’s justice system.

“There can be no justification for carrying out flogging, which amounts to torture and it even amounts to a crime under International Law. As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Iran is legally obliged to abolish the flogging punishment, as well as other forms of corporal punishment such as amputations and blinding.”, Philip Luther, MENA Research and Advocacy Director, said.

According to investigations by KHRN, Peyman Mirzazadeh had been unaware of the verdict until he was flogged on Sunday, July 28, 2019. Neither he nor anyone else as a lawyer has access to the details of the charges against him, he has only been orally told to the he was accused of drinking alcohol (Shorb Khamr)” and “Breaking the norms” by attending private parties and singing.

According to relatives of Peyman Mirzazadeh, he has sang Kurdish political and revolutionary songs in many festivals . The videos of some of these events were saved on Peyman Mirzazadeh’s personal phone, which was seized by the Intelligence Office and provided as evidence in the hearing which led to the issuance of flogging sentence.

The inhumane punishment of flogging falls within the category of “Islamic Jurisprudence (fiqh)” under the Islamic Penal Code as the punishment for a number of offences including drinking alcohol “Shorb Khamr”. There is no specific definition of “norm” in the law but many people have been charged based on attending private parties under the category of “Norms”. In one case, a number of participants were sentenced to 99 lashes each at a private party in Qazvin and their sentence was enforced within a day.

Peyman Mirzazadeh was arrested by security forces in Orumiyeh on February 21 and was transferred to the Orumiyeh Central Prison after four days of interrogation. He was transferred to Branch 1 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Orumiyeh on March 02 under the pretext of his arrest warrant being changed to the bail. However, his trial was held on that day without the presence of a lawyer. The court’s verdict of two years in prison and permanent ban from singing was served on him in prison shortly after his trial.

The sentence was later reduced to one year and 8 months in prison per the law of ‘Submission to the Verdict’. Therefore, he has been sentenced to three years and eight months in prison for his two convictions in total so far.

Peyman Mirzazadeh was previously detained in December 2017 on charges of reciting Kurdish epic and revolutionary songs. He was subsequently sentenced to 6 months of imprisonment by branch 3 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Orumiyeh on charges of propaganda against the state. He was released from the Orumiyeh Central Prison in June 2018 after serving his sentence for this earlier conviction.

Hunger Strike of Six Kurdish Political and Religious Prisoners at Orumiyeh Central Prison

While Mirzazadeh has ended his hunger strike, six other Kurdish political and religious prisoners- Rahmi Turgut, Bashir Pirmavanah, Qader Salimi, Mustafa Sabzi, Mansour Chopani and Mohammed Pishbin- have been on hunger strike for the past two weeks. Rahmi Turgut, Bashir Pirmavanah, Qader Salimi and Mustafa Sabzi are in critical health condition as a result of the hunger strike and their cellmates take them to the prison health care daily for blood pressure control.

Prison officials have ignored the requests of these prisoners while putting pressure on them to end their strike and prevent spreading strike among other political prisoners. In the face of these pressures, The Security Guards Officer of Orumiyeh Central Prison has summoned the afore-mentioned prisoners and demanded them to sign a form accepting the consequences of their hunger strike. However, none of the prisoners on hunger strike have signed the form.

The six prisoners are protesting against the refusal of prison officials to grant them parole or transfer them to a prison near their parents’ place of residence.