Execution Threat For Kurdish Sunni Prisoners In Iran

Religious prisoner Ayub Karimi was moved to solitary confinement last week in preparation for imminent execution in Ghezel-Hesar Prison in Karaj.

The prisoner, a SUnni Kurd, is the latest case rights groups fear will be victim to Iranian crackdowns on dissenting voices among the country’s minorities.

According to Hengaw Organization for Human Rights, one week ago, the Kurdish religious prisoner, the father of two children, was taken to the solitary confinement wing.

It follows the execution on November 5 of fellow religious prisoner Ghasem Abesteh, one of Karimi’s co-defendants.

Hengaw said that along with Karimi, five more religious prisoners have been identified as also facing imminent execution, Davoud Abdollahi, Farhad Salimi, Anwar Khezri, Khosrow Besharat, and Kamran Sheykha.

All of them were taken into custody in 2009 and were transferred to the detention center of the intelligence agency in Urmia (Orumiyeh) City.

They were tried in 2015, and subsequently sentenced to death. These sentences were confirmed by the Supreme Court in 2020, after years of legal battles. Despite a request for retrial in September 2020, the Supreme Court rejected their plea.

The charges against them include “War against God,” “corruption on earth,” “support for Salafi groups,” and the alleged “murder” of Abdolrahim Tina, who was killed by unidentified assailants in September 2008. However, in letters published by human rights organizations in recent years, the accused individuals consistently denied any involvement in these accusations.

In July alone, Kurdistan Human Rights Network reported that in the past month, Iranian security forces detained at least 54 Kurdish activists and citizens in the western provinces of Iran. Two detainees were sent to prison while the fate of the rest, including two children, remains unknown.

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