Kurdish political prisoner Ghader Mohammadzadeh has been on a hunger strike in Yazd Prison for 37 days and is in poor health.

Mohammadzadeh went on a hunger strike on 31 July to protest against the Mahabad Public Prosecutor’s refusal to grant him temporary leave.

The Kurdish political prisoner, who has been serving the 16th year of his 20-year prison sentence in Orumiyeh and Yazd, has so far been denied the right to temporary leave.

A member of Ghader Mohammadzadeh’s family spoke to the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) about the prisoner’s latest condition and the legal process of requesting his release.

“The court and the officials of Yazd prison have agreed to Ghader Mohammadzadeh’s request for leave, and even a bail of 1 billion [Iranian] Tomans [nearly 40,000 USD] has been set. However, as his sentence was issued in the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Mahabad, Yazd judicial officials sought the Mahabad prosecutor’s judgement to grant him temporary leave. Unfortunately, even though we prepared the bail and handed it over to the Mahabad judiciary, Mahabad prosecutor Mehrab Akbarpour personally opposed the granting of leave to Ghader Mohammadzadeh.”

The Mahabad prosecutor has said the objection was due to the importance of the case security-wise.

Contrary, the prisoner and his family believe that the prosecutor’s personal decision not to grant leave is decisive, as Yazd prison officials and judicial authorities have agreed to it after reviewing the details of the case. Therefore, there is no legal prohibition on allowing Mohammadzadeh’s temporary leave.

The prisoner’s family says the political prisoner is in poor health after 37 days on a hunger strike. He has refused to receive serum recently despite being transferred to the prison infirmary.

“In the last phone call we had with him, he said that although he has become very weak as a result of the hunger strike, he is not willing to break his hunger strike until his minimum demand is met, which is to use the right to leave after serving 16 years in prison. He also said that he reports his hunger strike in writing to Yazd prison officials every day, but prison officials have also told him that they have no objection to the leave and are waiting for a positive response from the Mahabad prosecutor’s office.”

This political prisoner had previously gone on a hunger strike in 2019 with a similar request. After a month and nine days, he ended his hunger strike with the promise of the officials of Yazd Central Prison to follow up on his demands.

Judicial authorities use ‘extra-legal power’ in Kurdistan – Human rights activist

Kaveh Kermanshahi, a member of the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) board of directors, expressed concern about Ghader Mohammadzadeh’s physical condition.

“After enduring 16 years of imprisonment, part of which was in exile in Yazd Prison, granting leave is the minimum right that this prisoner should be given”, he said.

Kermanshahi added: “Mohammadzadeh’s family and specifically his elderly mother, who has not even been able to travel to Yazd to visit her son, have secured with difficulty a heavy bail of one billion Tomans for his leave and have carried out all legal procedures in the Mahabad court, but the opposition of the Mahabad prosecutor has delayed the granting of this legal right. The decision of the Mahabad prosecutor has no legal justification and is based only on his personal judgement.”

Pointing out to the differences in the application of the laws in various regions of the country, Kermanshahi said:

“Unfortunately, judicial authorities in areas such as Kurdistan, even in relation to political prisoners, not only do not act under the existing laws but also place both prisoners and their families in harsh and torturous conditions with their extra-legal powers. These pressures and actions are more severe for prisoners who do not have the economic means to have a lawyer.”

The human rights activist called on human rights organisations and the media to make the necessary efforts to protect the rights and legal demands of the political prisoners belonging to ethnic and religious minorities who are being held in much more harsh conditions in prisons in places other than Tehran.

Kermanshahi also called for support for Ghader Mohammadzadeh and requested that necessary steps be taken to force officials for granting temporary leave to the political prisoner.


On 20 December 2005, security forces arrested Ghader Mohammadzadeh, born in 1977 in Bukan, and Mohammad Amin Abdollahi for their alleged “membership in Komalah Party” and “murder of an Iranian military official”.

The two political prisoners were transferred to Orumiyeh Central Prison after several months in solitary confinement in the detention centres of the Ministry of Intelligence in Mahabad and Orumiyeh, which was accompanied by torture aiming at obtaining forced to confess.

After 15 months of uncertainty, Branch 1 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Mahabad tried them on charges of “enmity against God”.

The court sentenced Ghader Mohammadzadeh to 20 years and six months in prison and exile in Yazd Prison, and Mohammad Amin Abdollahi to 18 years in prison and exile in Tabas Prison. Later, the Court of Appeal of West Azerbaijan province upheld the verdicts.

Separately, the Criminal Court of Mahabad sentenced Mohammadzadeh to seven years in prison and “retribution in kind” on “premeditated murder” charges. In 2013, the Supreme Court dropped the sentence to payment of blood money as compensation after the prisoner appealed against the ruling.

In a separate case in February 2011, Branch 1 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court sentenced the Kurdish political prisoner to six months in prison on charges of “communicating with foreign media”.