Human Rights Activists Have Forgotten About My Dad

July 5, 2010
Mohammad Seddigh Kaboudvand’s Daughter in Exclusive Interview with Rooz
c_250_150_16777215_00___images_stories_news_mohammad-Seddigh-Kaboudvand.jpg Mohammad Seddigh Kaboudvand, the founder and president of the Kurdistan Human Rights Defense Organization, has been sentenced to ten years imprisonment for his human rights activities, articles and the founding of his non-governmental organization. He is now serving the fourth year of his prison sentence on a final verdict that cannot be appealed. In this fourth year of Kaboudvand’s incarceration, we have spoken with his daughter, Tonia. Speaking to Rooz, Tonia, who is a university student, shares her dissatisfaction with the indifference of human rights activists and defenders toward her father’s situation. She says, “Human rights activists and defenders have been silent about my father’s situation and have over time forgotten about it.”

The interview appears below.
Rooz: Mss Kaboudvand, tell us about your father’s latest condition.

Tonia Kaboudvand (Kaboudvand): My father is not spending his fourth year in prison. Unfortunately, the court heard his appeal during the past two months and confirmed it. According to the verdict, my father must spend nearly 11 years in prison for his defense of human rights. As he is starting his fourth year of incarceration, I must remind you that so far all of our requests for a face-to-face meeting or vacation have been denied. Every time that we meet with my father, unfortunately, he appears more pale, skinnier and more in pain. Since last year, he doesn’t inform us about his health conditions, even though during the first two years he was constantly worried about his health and told us about it. For example, he told us about his lung condition, high blood pressure, and heart problems. But starting last year, he said that even if he is suffering from serious health conditions, he wouldn’t want to tell us about it, because, according to him, it wouldn’t solve anything and no one is being held accountable. Also, my father hesitates to tell us about his health conditions because he doesn’t want government officials to hear about that.

Rooz: Your father is a human rights activist, and so far no human rights activist has been subjected to such a harsh prison sentence. Why explains the verdict in your father’s case?

Kaboudvand: Our assumption is that government officials don’t want to let my father out of prison under any circumstances. At the same people, people who have been convicted of more serious charges are either released or able to at least receive some vacation time. Therefore, the harsh treatment of my father has only two reasons. First, my father is a Kurdish activist, and second, his activities are aimed at improving human rights in Kurdistan. My father was an independent human rights activist in Kurdistan.

Rooz: What is your request from human rights activists and organizations?

Kaboudvand: First, let me raise a criticism of human rights activist.  Human rights activists and defenders have been silent about my father’s situation and have over time forgotten about it.” Even if human rights organizations can’t impose pressure for my father’s release, they can at least try to get his vacation time. My father hasn’t returned home for four years now. Maybe this is a repetitive story for many, but a family never gets used to the absence of its father.