Halt the Execution of 33 Sunni Muslims

Halt the Execution of 33 Sunni Muslims

We, members of 20 Iran-focused and international human rights organizations, wish to express our deep concern about 33 Kurdish prisoners who have been sentenced to death. We urge the international community and human rights organizations to take immediate action to halt the execution of these men.

Iran’s judiciary should quash death sentences against 33 members of the country’s Kurdish minority and immediately cancel their execution. The Iranian Supreme Court has confirmed the sentences of four men–Hamed Ahmadi, Jahangir Dehghani, Kamal Molai, and Jamshid Dehghani–and they are at imminent risk of execution.

Twenty nine other Kurdish men –Shahram Ahmadi, Behrouz Shahnazari, Kaveh Sharifi, Kaveh Veysi, Taleb Maleki, Arash Sharifi, Mokhtar Rahimi, Idris Nemati, Mohammadyavar Rahimi, Mohammad Gharibi, Pouria Mohammadi, Bahman Rahimi, Alam Barmashti, Farzad Honarjo, Farzad Shahnazari, Keyvan Momenifard, Seyed Shaho Ebrahimi, Seyed Abdol Hadi Hosseini, Sedigh Mohamdi, Seyed Jamal Mousavi, Ahmad Nasiri, Varia Ghaderifard, Farshid Naseri, Teymour Naderizadeh, Borzan Nasrollahzadeh, Abdorahman Sangani, Amjad Salehi, Mohammad Keyvan Karimi and Omid Peyvand– have been sentences to death and are awaiting a review by the Iranian Supreme Court.

There are serious concerns that these men have not been involved in any internationally recognizable criminal offense. All 33 prisoners have been convicted on vague charges related to national security such as “gathering and colluding against national security,” “spreading propaganda against the system,” and “moharebeh” or enmity against God. A number of the men were also charged with the killing of Sheikh al-Islam Burhani A’ali, an imam in the city of Sanandaj. However, there is little evidence that they played any role in the murder. Some of the defendants were even arrested prior to the murder and were in prison at the time.

Furthermore these men were convicted following a grossly flawed process. Article 35 of the Iranian Constitution guarantees the right to counsel, however, the defendants were prevented from hiring an attorney of their choice. Their court-appointed attorneys could not see them in prison and did not have access to their files prior to the trial. Many of the defendants met their attorneys for the first time few minutes before their trial.

Judge Mohammad Moghiseh was the presiding judge in all of 33 cases. Each trial was held behind closed door and lasted between 10 to 30 minutes.

There are also concerns that all 33 men were tortured or otherwise mistreated to make incriminating statements. Many of them have detailed the harsh physical and psychological pressures. In a letter Shahram Ahmadi describes one of these episodes:

“[My] interrogator knew that I had been injured [in previous incidents of mistreatments]. He purposely punched me in my stomach and I began bleeding heavily from my old wounds. I was hospitalized at Sannadaj Hospital under a fake name… later my wounds became infected but they refused to give me medication.”

In many of these cases the only evidence against these men has been the statements they made under torture. Article 38 of the Iranian Constitution prohibits all forms of torture “for the purpose of obtaining confessions.” The Penal Code also provides for the punishment of officials who torture citizens to obtain confessions.

Article 7 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which has been ratified by Iran, provides that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Article 14 of ICCPR guarantees that every defendant has a right to “communicate with the counsel of his own choosing” and must be tried by an “independent and impartial tribunal.”

The cases of these men lack legal credibility in light of the numerous violations of their rights.

We, the undersigned, ask the Iranian judiciary for the immediate halt in the executions of these 33 men and overturn of their sentences. They should be granted retrials in proceedings that comply with standards of fair trial without recourse to the death penalty.

© Association pour les Droits Humains au Kurdistan d'Iran-Genève (KMMK-G) - Admin -