Imminent Risk of Execution for Hebibula Gulperi

Hebibula Gulperi has been in the custody of the Iranian authorities since 27 September 2009. He was arrested during a trip from Mahabad to Urmiye, located in Eastern Kurdistan (Iran). He has since his arrest been subjected to both psychological as well as physical torture and denied basic rights. Human rights reports tell of ill-treatment including prolonged solitary confinement, broken arms and legs, interrupted sleep, electrocution, poor or non-existent meals etc. Gulperi appeared before the Mahabad branch of the Revolutionary Court in 2010 where he was convicted to be a mohareb i.e. an ‘enemy of God’ death in accordance with articles 186 and 190 of the Islamic penal Code.

Defend International (DI) has in a press release stated that Gulperi has been transferred from Urmiye prison to Semnan prison in Northern Iran, without notifying his family or lawyer. In March 2010, another Kurdish prisoner, Hussein Khezri, was transferred during similar circumstances from Urmiye Central prison to Qazvin prison where he stayed for nearly forty days only to be transferred back and executed on 15 January 2011. The situation for political and human rights activists in Iran is worsening on a day by day basis and there are now more than 22 Kurdish activists on death row in Iranian prisons.

“Is it possible to carry the heavy burden of being a teacher and be responsible for spreading the seeds of knowledge and still be silent? Is it possible to see the lumps in the throats of the students and witness their thin and malnourished faces and keep quiet? Is it possible to be in the year of no justice and fairness and fail to teach the H for Hope and E for Equality, even if such teachings land you in Evin prison or result in your death? (Ferzad Kemanger, in a letter titled “Be Strong Comrades”, written in prison prior to his execution in 2010)

On 9 May 2010 Ferzad Kemanger, a teacher and human rights activist was executed in Evin prison in Iran together with Ali Heyderyan, Farhad Vakili, Shirin Alamhouli and Mehdi Eslamian. The international community raised their voices as much as they thought possible to bring about a halt in the execution of these five prisoners of conscience but as words cannot catch bullets or stop the Iranian regime, the execution was carried out.

Writers, political activists, human rights activists and now teachers are being executed and eliminated. The ones with the knowledge or language to speak, or just the ones brave enough to risk their lives now for a better future for generations to come.

Humanity have lost many brave people for the sake of change, the promise of a better future and freedom and we can do much more than just raise our voices and watch more brave women and men face the same fate.

I wish to tell these prisoners that their efforts were not in vain and that those who share their ideas and hopes for the future are not arrested and executed today while the world remains silent, but I cannot do that.

I will instead share with you the explanation Kemanger wrote for the title of his letter;

“Eight years ago, the grandmother of one of my students, Yassin, in the village of Marab, played the tape of the story of the teacher Mamoosta Ghootabkhaneh. She told me then, “I know that your fate, like the teacher who is the writer and recorder of this poem, is execution; but be strong comrade. The grandmother said those words as she puffed on her cigarette and stared at the mountains. “

I hope that you understand his meaning and that you comrades also remain strong and always keep your faith in the mountains of Kurdistan.