18 March 2020
The coronavirus continued to spread in Iran and Iranian Kurdistan amid ongoing opacity from the Iranian regime regarding the total number of cases and fatalities. The Hengaw Organization for Human Rights reported 102 deaths from the virus in Iran’s Ilam, Kermanshah, Kurdistan, and West Azerbaijan provinces. Kurdish organizations also continue to report a significant lack of medicine and access to medical care in Iran’s Kurdish region. Meanwhile, the Chief Justice of Iran responded to an outbreak in Iran’s Urmia Prison by sanctioning the release of prisoners who had received sentences of five years or less and had served at least 15 percent of their sentences.
The Islamic Revolutionary Court of Sanandaj sentenced three Kurdish environmental activists for “cooperation” with the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK). Arman Wafai, Faradin Karimi, and Afshen Shekhoislami were each sentenced to three months in prison and had been previously arrested for participation in anti-regime protests last November. In Mazandaran, prominent Kurdish author Mozhgan Kawsi was sentenced to seven months and 15 days in prison for “propaganda” against the regime. Kawasi previously received a sentence of five years and seven months in prison on two charges related to anti-regime activities in December 2019.
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