Iranian Kurdish activist found dead in Erbil; his family ‘suspicious’ – organizations

This is undated picture shows Ahmad Begham wearing People’s Protection Units (YPG) uniform

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — An Iranian Kurdish activist was found dead at his house in Erbil on Saturday, according to rights organizations, and his family sees his death “suspicious” due to marks of torture on the body.

Ahmad Begham, from Sardasht city in northwestern Iran, had lost contacts with his family and friends since Thursday, Hengaw Organization for Human Rights said on Wednesday.

“He was found dead at his house on Saturday after one of his friends visited his house,” Hengaw cited a source with knowledge as saying.

Police have yet to comment on the incident.

Begham worked as a construction worker in Erbil, one of his relatives told the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN).

“His family and friends could not reach him after he finished work and returned home on Thursday,” the KHRN quoted his relative as saying.

“One of his co-workers went to his house and found his lifeless body after he didn’t go to work and didn’t answer phone calls on Saturday.”

Police transferred his body to the forensic department in Erbil, the KHRN said, adding that causes of his death would be announced within 20 days.

His body was given back to his family on Sunday for burial in Qaladizeh, north of Sulaimani, the rights watchdog said.

“Signs of torture are seen on his body in the photos taken by Ahmed’s relatives while washing his body,” the KHRN quoted his relative as saying.

The suspected death was the second incident in Erbil. In August, member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDP-I) Musa Babakhani was found dead in a room in a hotel in Erbil.

The KDP-I, an Iranian Kurdish opposition party, said there were “marks of torture on his body” when he was found dead.

The KHRN said Begham had informed one of his friends that he was being “chased by a suspicious car”.

Begham left Iran in 2011 due to “pressure from security agencies”, according to the KHRN. He resided in the Kurdistan Region as a political asylum seeker.

He was jailed for about five years in Sardasht and Mahabad prisons in West Azerbaijan province in 2003 for his participation in protests in Iran.

The KHRN said at least four Iranian Kurdish political activists and members of the Iranian Kurdish opposition parties were killed in the Kurdistan Region in 2020.

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