Rights Groups Condemn Recent Execution of Kurdish Prisoners, Urging For an Immediate Moratorium on the Death Penalty
August 16, 2016
Geneva – Iranian authorities must immediately put a halt to the execution of Kurdish political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, 22 human rights organizations, including the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation, stated.
These organizations also urged for an immediate moratorium on the death penalty and a right to due process and fair and public retrials for all prisoners sentenced to death.
Since the beginning of August 2016 until today, Iranian authorities summarily executed at least twenty-four Kurdish political prisoners.
On Tuesday August 9, 2016, at dawn, five Kurdish prisoners were hanged on narcotic charges in Urmia Central Prison in Iran, according to official sources and Iran Human Rights (IHR). One of the executed men was Mohammad Abdollahi. Abdollahi was charged with the capital offense moharebeh (enmity against God) for his alleged membership in a Kurdish political party. Abdollahi insisted that he had simply obtained a membership card from the group.
These Urmia executions followed the August 2, 2016 execution of twenty Kurdish political prisoners in Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj, which was confirmed by Iranian authorities. According to multiple human rights organizations, these men were part of a larger group of thirty-three Kurdish and Sunni prisoners subjected to a pattern of severe human rights abuses and procedural violations. Many of these men were convicted of moharebeh based on confessions allegedly obtained by means of torture. Many were held for months, some for more than two years, in solitary confinement, and convicted in hasty unfair trials in which they were denied the right to proper defense and judicial safeguards.
Politically-motivated executions are the gravest violation of the right to freedom of expression, and foster a climate of fear in which individuals and group self-censor, further limiting freedom of expression in the country.
According to a report by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the country had the highest rate of executions per capita in the world in 2015. The executions have not stopped in 2016. According to the database Iran Prison Atlas, 915 political prisoners and prisoners of conscience are in detention as of August 2016 – 390 of whom are Kurds. The vast majority of prisoners sentenced to moharebeh are Kurds. Meanwhile, nearly all executions in the ethnic regions of Iran are carried out secretly or not announced by official Iranian media. Since the establishment of the Islamic Republic, thousands of prisoners have been reportedly executed for drug-related offenses, a significant number of whom include ethnic minorities.
We call for the following immediate actions:
Roya Boroumand, Executive Director(Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation)