Germany arrests Kurdish Iranian dissident leader

PJAK demands group leader’s release, warns of action


Germany security forces arrested Abdul Rahman Haji Ahmadi, the leader of Iranian Kurdish opposition group, the Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK), at his apartment near Cologne, the group confirmed Sunday.

Nooroz news, the satellite channel affiliated to PJAK, said the Iraq-based militant group warned that actions will be taken against Germany and other European countries if Haji Ahmadi is not released, without elaborating on the type of action.

“Abdul Rahman Haji Ahmadi is a hero in both Kurdistan and Iran and his arrest is a blatant violation of rights” said a PJAK statement aired on Norooz.

“The arrest is not an action against a certain person or a specific trend or group,” the statement added. “It rather constitutes a conspiracy against the free will of the people.”

According to the statement, Haji Ahmadi has been the leader of PJAK since the group was created in 2004 and neither he nor the group has ever been involved in any “undemocratic activities.”

The German police have not so far made any comments regarding the reasons for his arrest.

Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency linked to the country’s Revolutionary Guards, reported that “terrorist gang leader” Abdul Rahman Haji Ahmadi was arrested by German security forces on Friday alongside two other senior members of the group Ramzi Kartel and Zobayr Aydan

According to Fars, Haji Ahmadi was arrested in his residence during a two-hour-long operation, where officers confiscated computers, mobile phones and other communication equipment.

Abdul Rahman Haji Ahmadi is a hero in both Kurdistan and Iran and his arrest is a blatant violation of rights

PJAK statement

Repeated attacks

Iran has complained frequently about PJAK’s activities, and has launched repeated artillery attacks and even airstrikes against PJAK bases in the rugged Qandil mountains of northern Iraq.

According to prior statements by its leaders, the group aims to oust the current Iranian theocracy and replace it with a democratic, federal government that recognizes the rights of the Islamic Republic’s ethnic minorities such as Kurds, Arabs, and Azeris.

The U.S. Treasury Department listed PJAK as a “specially-designated global terrorist” organization on Feb. 4, 2009, alleging that the group had “terrorist ties to the KGK,” the political arm of the PKK, the Turkish Kurdish organization that has been battling the Turkish government for the past 25 years.

The State Department has never accused PJAK of engaging in international terrorism or military activity outside of Iran. But PJAK fighters have clashed occasionally with Iranian Revolutionary Guards units in Iranian Kurdish towns and villages, making it a primary target of the Iranian regime.

Parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani demanded on Monday that Haji Ahmadi be handed over to Iran to stand trial. According to the student news agency ISNA, Iran had repeatedly asked Germany to arrest the PJAK leader.

(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid).