Four Kurdish political prisoners face execution after being held incognito for 18 months since their arrest in July 2022, the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) warned on Thursday.
The New York-based organisation called for urgent action to prevent their execution, revealing that details of the trial, charges and court proceedings have been kept secret from the families.
The CHRI said the men, identified as Mohsen Mazloum, Mohammad Faramarzi, Vafa Azarbar and Pejman Fatehi, are now facing execution after a short trial in a Tehran court. During the trial, the men were forced to use court-appointed lawyers and were denied the right to appeal against their death sentences. Within 24 hours, the Supreme Court upheld their sentences.
Hadi Ghaemi, CHRI’s Executive Director, stressed the urgency of global attention, citing the serious violations of due process and the history of disproportionate executions of minorities in Iran. Ghaemi urged world leaders to call on the Iranian authorities to halt the executions immediately or face diplomatic and economic consequences.
The families of the political prisoners, who were kept in the dark about the conditions of their loved ones for the first 80 days of their arrest, were recently informed of the imminent executions. However, their attempts to meet the prisoners have been thwarted by the state security services and the families have been threatened if they persist.
The charges against the men include collaboration with Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, which has been denied by the Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan, a social democratic ethnic political party with which the men are accused of working. The allegedly coerced confessions aired on state television, showing the prisoners in an emaciated and tormented state, have been disputed by the families, who point to contradictions in the confessions.
The CHRI urged the United Nations and world leaders to increase pressure on Iran, calling for public condemnation and warning of diplomatic and economic isolation if the unlawful executions continue.
More than 800 prisoners were executed in Iran in 2023, highlighting a worrying pattern of injustice and abuse of the death penalty, particularly against ethnic minorities and political prisoners.