“A lesson for anyone who wants to stand against the will of the Iranian nation” is how the executions of four Kurdish political prisoners, all in their twenties, were described by Mehdi Sa’adati, a member of the Iran’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee.
The “punishment”, as the lawmaker described it, has been decried on the international stage since the death sentences were carried out against Pejman Fatehi (28), Mohsen Mazloum (27), Vafa Azarbar (26) and Mohammad Faramarzi (28) in Karaj, Iran on the morning of Monday, 30 January.
Human rights giant Amnesty International described as ‘arbitrary’ the executions of the men, who were charged with spying for the Israeli secret service, Mossad.
“Cooperation with Mossad has no outcome other than being executed. This is the Iranian nation’s demand,” Sa’adati said.
The convictions were based on forced confessions extracted under torture, and the defendants were denied independent legal representation or the right to appeal throughout what is deemed to have been a ‘grossly unfair’ trial.
Amnesty said that the men were subjected to enforced disappearance in 2022. The four were detained incommunicado until families were allowed a first and final visit shortly before the hangings.
The Iranian authorities subsequently refused to hand over the bodies of the executed young activists to their families.
The targeting of activists and dissidents is not a new phenomenon in Iran, with 800 executions carried out in the last year alone, a significant proportion of whom were members of minority groups such as Kurds and Baluchis.