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Voice of Kurdish-American Radio for Democracy, Peace and Freedom
Widow of slain Iranian Kurdish leader speaks on Capitol Hill چاپ ارسال به دوست
By Nadine Hoffman   

July 14, 2008
us_congress_n_ghasemlu08.jpgHelene Krulich Ghassemlou, the widow of Dr. Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou, discussed her continuing struggle for justice for her husband Monday at a Capitol Hill memorial marking the anniversary of his assassination

Dr. Ghassemlou, the Secretary-General of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI), was murdered by Iranian government agents in July of 1989 in Vienna, during negotiations for a peaceful settlement of the Kurdish question.

Those involved in his brutal killing remain at large. According to Mrs. Ghassemlou, the assassins were allowed to go free because the Austrian government wanted to avoid a public scandal over its weapons deal with Iran at the time. She added that U.S. Congressional pressure on Austria could potentially cause the investigation to resume; the case has never been closed.

Sharif Behruz, a PDKI representative who organized the memorial in cooperation with the Leadership Council for Human Rights (LCHR), paid tribute to Dr. Ghassemlou, saying "he helped the Kurds become their own masters" in the 1980s. Dr. Ghassemlou's party platform included human rights and equality for all ethnic groups in Iran, separation of mosque and state, improved quality of life, and an end to discrimination against women.

LCHR President Kathryn Cameron Porter said the memorial was a symbolic event, and an opportunity to create understanding in Washington, DC, which is critical to build the political will necessary to pursue justice. She also praised the co-chairs of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, saying, "Rep. Frank Wolf and Rep. Jim McGovern are deeply committed to helping people realize their rights, and they won't give up the fight."

Ms. Porter and Mr. Behruz expressed thanks to Congressman Frank Wolf for making the memorial possible, and the Congressional Human Rights Caucus for its ongoing efforts to elevate the human rights agenda. Ms. Porter stressed the need for the Caucus and other Congressional entities to focus on continuing human rights violations in Iran, particularly the wrongful imprisonment, torture, and execution of its citizens.

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