Amnesty calls on Iran to halt execution of seven Kurdish men

An Iranian policeman takes out his gun ahead of a hanging. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Amnesty International called on the Iranian authorities to “immediately” halt plans to execute several Kurdish men who are in danger of execution in the country.

In an “urgent action” letter dated Tuesday, Amnesty said Iranian Sunni Kurdish men Anwar Khezri, Ayoub Karimi, Davoud Abdollahi, Farhad Salimi, Ghassem Abesteh, Kamran Sheikheh and Khosrow Basharat were “at risk of execution” in Raja’i Shahr prison in Karaj.

The Kurdish men were convicted of “corruption on earth” and national security offences, according to the letter, which Amnesty sent to head of Iran’s judiciary Gholamhossein Mohseni.

They were sentenced to death by Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran following a “grossly unfair trial” in June 2018, Amnesty said.

The men accused of membership in “Salafist groups” were taken to a detention facility belonging to the ministry of intelligence in Urmiah, it added. The seven men deny the allegations.

Amnesty International urged to “immediately halt any plans to execute” the seven men, calling on Mohseni to “quash their convictions and death sentences and grant them fair retrials”.

It also called on Mohseni to ensure that the seven men’s “torture allegations are effectively and independently investigation with a view to brining those suspected of responsibility to justice in fair trials”.

Iran has long held the dubious distinction of being the “Number Two executioner” in the world after China, according to Amnesty International.

In 2021, Iran executed 48 Kurdish prisoners, according to Hengaw Organization for Human Rights, which monitors human rights abuses in Iranian Kurdistan.

Amnesty says ethnic minorities in Iran, including Kurds, face discrimination which curtails their access to education, employment and political office. They are also disproportionately affected by death sentences imposed for “vague charges” including “corruption on earth” and also being executed in “secret with the authorities then refusing to return their bodies for burial to their families”.

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