Four Sulaimani Residents Detained in Iran

17/10/2012 RUDAW By NAWZAD MAHMOOD – SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region—Nazim Omer, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) representative in Tehran, told Rudaw that the Islamic Republic has arrested four people from the Kurdistan Region.

Omer revealed that the four were arrested for security reasons. He said his office is attempting to ascertain the current situation but believes it may not be serious.

Last week, the families of the four detainees visited the KRG office in Tehran to report that their loved ones arrived in Iran two months ago, but had not been heard from since.

Omer said that his office immediately contacted Iranian officials, but their response was short and unclear. “Since their arrests are related to security, the Iranians won’t tell us specifics,” he said.Several months ago, the Iranian government arrested another Iranian Kurd, Mazyar Ibrahim, a resident of Sulaimani. He was detained under the pretext of being involved with Israelis in the killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist. Omer said he has no information about Ibrahim’s current condition.

Previously, Rudaw also reported the case on Omar Sharif, a man from Sayid Sadiq who has been in Iranian prison for the past 12 years. Sharif, 32, was accused of killing an Iranian intelligence official in Mariwan. Sharif, a member of the Democratic Socialist Party of Kurdistan (PDSK), is on death row. His brother said that, since Rudaw published the article, PDSK has been following up on the case. Security officials in the Kurdistan Region said that they were unaware of the arrest of the four people in Iran.

Omer said all of them are from Sulaimani province, but didn’t reveal their identities. “We are still following up on their case,” he said.

He added that people from the Kurdistan Region who visit Iran as tourists often get arrested for various reasons, such as taking pictures in places where they are not allowed. His office is currently attempting to convince the Iranians to allow their families to see them. Abdulla Akrai, a KRG-Iran relationship coordinator, also expressed ignorance about the arrests. “The families should have come to see us before going to the KRG representative in Tehran,” he said. “That way, we could demand an explanation for the arrests from the Iranian Consulate in Erbil.”

Akrai added that he would do his best to find out about their condition and make an effort to secure their release.

He also noted that tourists from the Kurdistan Region get arrested in Iran daily for illegal activities such as drinking alcohol, harassing women or, in the case of women, exposing their hair. However, he said these are minor offences and usually detentions for them don’t last long.Mahmood Salih, the chief of the Interpol department in Sulaimani, also said he was unaware of the situation. He said that the families need to file a complaint at the nearest police station in order for the case to be sent to court. After that, the court will refer them to Interpol who will transfer the case to Interpol in Baghdad and the Iraqi foreign ministry. The Iraqi foreign ministry will officially contact the Iranian authorities. “None of the families of these four people have filed a complaint at the police station to allow us to process their case,” Salih said.