Mohammad-Sedigh Kaboodvand is a journalist and a human rights activist. On July 1, 2007, he was detained by Intelligence agents and he has been held in prison since then.
Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced Mr. Kaboodvand to an 11-year jail term in 2008. Mr. Kaboodvand was accused of attempts against national security through establishing a human rights organization in Kurdistan province, spreading propaganda against the regime by circulating news, opposing the Islamic punishment code by openly criticizing penalties such as stoning and hanging and his support of political prisoners. The appeals court confirmed his sentencing in the same year. Mr. Kaboodvand’s legal counselor was Nasrin Sotodeh.
Mr. Kaboodvand established the Kurdistan human rights organization in 2005 in an effort to defend the rights of Kurds in Iran. This non-governmental organization was preparing reports on the conditions and instances of human rights violations in Kurdistan. Close to 200 local reporters throughout Kurdistan province were working with this organization. Mr. Kaboodvand, by managing a peaceful human rights campaign on a local and national level, intended to call the attention of authorities to the human rights plight in Kurdistan.
Mr. Kaboodvand has also published books under the titles of “The Other Half”, discussing women rights, “Democracy Inferno” and “Social Movement”.
Mr. Kaboodvand was also chief editor of a weekly publication called “People Message”, which was shut-down on June 27, 2004, by an order issued by branch 1 of the general court in the city of Sanandaj, citing article 31 of the laws covering publications.
On June 15, 2004, a few days prior to the shutdown of “People Message”, branch 1 of the general court in Sanandaj summoned Mr. Kaboodvand to appear before the court, where he was charged with publishing false articles about Kurdistan with the intent to incite public opinion, discussing ethnic and racial subjects with the intent to promote segregation, writing an article about Ghazi Mohammad and printing his photograph.
Four days after Mr. Kaboodvand’s arrest, the initial court sentenced him to a one and a half-year suspended jail term, a five-year ban on any activities related to journalism and a publication ban on “People Message”..
In 2009, Mr. Kaboodvand received a Hellman Award (for writers subjected to harassment) from Human Rights Watch.. The prize is awarded to writers from different countries annually.
Mr. Kaboodvand, following his graduation, helped in establishing an organization called Unity for Democracy in Iran, which is active on civil rights issues.
Mr. Kaboodvand suffered a heart attack in prison and he is also suffering from hypertension, a kidney infection and problems related to his prostate. Prison authorities are denying Mr. Kaboodvand access to medical specialists.