Thursday, 4 December 2008

The Observatory: Mr. Yasser Goli, a Kurdish rights activist and Secretary General of the Kurdish Students sentenced to 15 years in prison

The Observatory
for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

pour la Protection des Défenseurs
des Droits de l’Homme
para la Protección
de los Defensores de Derechos Humanos


New information
IRN 012 / 1008 / OBS 187
Sentencing / Arbitrary detention
November 12, 2008

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in Iran.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the sentencing of Mr. Yasser Goli, a Kurdish rights activist and Secretary General of the Kurdish Students’ Union of Iranian Universities, detained since October 9, 2007
[1], to 15 years in prison

According to the information received, on November 6, 2008, Mr. Yasser Goli was sentenced by the second branch of the Revolutionary Court of Sanandaj, Iranian Kurdistan, to 15 years in prison and to his banishment to Kerman, in the east of the country, for having contacts with “illegal Kurdish organisations” (Article 168 of the Islamic Penal Code). His lawyer will appeal this sentence. As of issuing this urgent appeal, he remains detained in a prison in Kurdistan. No further information could be obtained as to his exact place of detention.

The Observatory expresses its deep concern about Mr. Goli’s severe sentencing, which is once again evidence of the ongoing harsh repression of the Iranian authorities against human rights defenders.

Furthermore, the Observatory wishes to insist on the fact that Iran had committed to “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights”
[2] by presenting its candidacy to the Human Rights Council 2006 election and had insisted in this regard on the fact that the country had “continuously put great efforts into safeguarding the status and inherent dignity of the human person as well as the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms”[3]. In order to ensure the continuation of these efforts, the Observatory urges the Islamic Republic of Iran to conform with international human rights standards.

Background information:

After being in prison for three months, Mr. Goli was transferred to the Central Prison of Sanandaj on January 16, 2008. Until then, he was not allowed to meet with his family. Mr. Goli suffers from a heart ailment and has been admitted to the hospital numerous times for treatment.

Hi whole family has fought on his behalf to shed light on his condition and plight. His father, Mr. Saleh Goli, was arrested on October 31, 2007 in connection with his son’s case. His bail was set at 10 million tomans but he was subsequently released.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in Iran urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Yasser Goli;

ii. Release Mr. Yasser Goli immediately and unconditionally since his detention is arbitrary as it merely aims at sanctioning his activities in favour of human rights;

iv. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Yasser Goli as well as against all Iranian human rights defenders;

v. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, Article 6.b, which provides that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others [...] freely to publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms”, and Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

vi. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Iran.


· Leader of the Islamic Republic, His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, The Office of the Supreme Leader, Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran, Faxes: + 98.21.649.5880 / 21.774.2228, Email: / /;
· President, His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98.21.649.5880, E-mail:;
· Head of the Judiciary, His Excellency Mr. Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98.21.879.6671 / +98 21 3 311 6567 / +98 21 3 390 4986, Email: /;
· Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Mr. Manuchehr Motaki, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdolmajid Keshk-e Mesri Av, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98.21.390.1999, Email:;
· Director, Human Rights Headquarters of Iran, His Excellency Mohammad Javad Larijani, C/o Office of the Deputy for International Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Justice Building, Panzdah-Khordad (Ark) Square, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98 21 5 537 8827
· Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7330203, Email:;
· Ambassador Mr. Ahani, Embassy of Iran in Brussels, avenue Franklin Roosevelt, 15 A. 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 39 15. Email:

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Iran in your respective country.

Geneva - Paris, November 12, 2008

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need. The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

International Federation for Human Rights
17, Passage de la Main d’Or
75 011 Paris, France
World Organisation Against Torture
Case postale 21 - 8 rue du Vieux-Billard
1211 Geneva 8, Switzerland

[1] See Observatory Press Release, September 4, 2008.
[2] In accordance with GA resolution A/RES/60/251 establishing the Human Rights Council.

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