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Tuesday, Apr 16, 2024

Iran executes Kurdish ‘political prisoner’: rights groups

Iran executes Kurdish ‘political prisoner’: rights groups

Iran on Friday hanged a Kurdish man viewed as a political prisoner by activists, rights groups said, amplifying alarm over the soaring number of executions in the country this year.
Mohayyedin Ebrahimi, 43, was hanged at dawn at Urmia prison in northwestern Iran, the Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) and Hengaw rights groups said in separate statements.

Five other men were also executed on drug-related charges at Urmia on Friday morning, the groups added.

Ebrahimi was arrested in 2017 during a clash where he was shot in the leg, and was sentenced to death the following year.

He was accused of involvement in the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran, a banned group which has waged an armed struggle for self-determination of
Iran’s Kurdish-populated region, and indicted on the capital charge of armed rebellion.

Ebrahimi denied the allegations, with rights groups saying he had only been working as a porter carrying goods from Iraq.

Both IHR and Hengaw described him as a “political prisoner” who had been subjected to forced confessions while in jail.

Amnesty International said it condemned the execution which came “after a grossly unfair trial that relied on torture-tainted ‘confessions’.”

The London-based rights group added that Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei “must stop using the death penalty as a tool of political repression and put a moratorium on executions.”

There had been fears Ebrahimi’s execution was imminent after he was granted a meeting with his family and moved to solitary confinement.

IHR said a protest took place outside the doors of Urmia prison late on Thursday after it became apparent his execution could be imminent, and his son was arrested.

Hengaw said Ebrahimi’s family was initially told he was moving to another prison after the sentence was suspended, only to be called to collect the body.
Before his execution he had written a letter to IHR pleading for help in saving his life and describing the charges as “false and fabricated.”

Meanwhile, another convict was hanged on Thursday in the prison of Khorramabad in western Iran for the murder of a policeman, the official IRNA news agency said.

The hangings come as alarm intensifies over the high number of executions in Iran, which has also faced strong international condemnation over its crackdown on a protest movement that erupted in September.

Iran has executed four people over the protests, sparked by the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd who had been arrested for allegedly violating the strict dress rule for women.

Rights groups have warned that executions on all kinds of charges are on the rise, arguing this seeks to intimidate society into not protesting.

According to IHR, at least 144 people have been executed this year.

IHR director Mahmood Amiry Moghaddam described those executed “as victims of the government’s execution machine, whose purpose is only to intimidate people and prevent protests.”

Amnesty has accused Iran of a “chilling escalation in the use of the death penalty” with the Kurdish and Baluch ethnic minorities particularly targeted.

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