Iran, which has been scrutinizing the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK), whose members fight against government forces in Iran’s Kurdish-populated areas, has sentenced 15 PJAK members to death.
The PJAK operates as a front for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting Turkish forces for 25 years.
The 15 PJAK members — Enver Hüseyin Penahi, Abdulvahid Botimar, Ferzad Kemanger, Ferhad Vekili, Eli Heyderiyan, Erselan Evliyayi, Hebibullah Letifi, Ihsan Fetahiyan, Fesih Yasemini, Rustem Arkiya, Zeynep Celaliyan, Serko Maarfi, Ferhat Çalis, Enver Rostemi and Ramazan Ahmet — were given the death penalty for "violence, terror, rising up in arms, kidnapping, threatening the region’s people, threatening Iran’s national security, providing financial gain for a terrorist organization and drug trafficking."
Visiting Turkey last month as part of a security cooperation agreement between the two countries, the head of the police drug control headquarters in Iran, Gen. Hamid Reza Hosseinabadi, said: "The PKK/PJAK have been fed by narcotics smuggling. We will fight against the PJAK using the strongest measures."
Meanwhile, Abdullah Mohtadi, secretary-general of the Komala Party-Iranian Kurdistan, said they will not let PJAK members join their forces as long as they are affiliated with the PKK.
The US Treasury branded the PJAK a terrorist organization in early February, a move welcomed by the Turkish government.