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Amnesty International Urges Iran To Halt Execution of Kurdish Prisoner

Ahead of the scheduled execution on Thursday of Ramin Hossein Panahi, a 22-year-old man from Iran’s Kurdish minority who was sentenced to death in January for “taking up arms against the state.

Amnesty International has called on Iranian authorities to halt the execution of a 22-year-old Kurdish man scheduled to be hanged May 3.

In a statement published May 1, Amnesty International says a court in Iran sentenced Ramin Hossein Panahi to death “after an unfair trial” in February. Panahi was accused of taking up arms against the state.

Panahi’s trial lasted less than an hour and torture marks on his body were reportedly ignored during the trial, according to the rights group.

Panahi’s conviction “was based upon his membership of the armed Kurdish opposition group Komala, but no evidence linking him to activities involving intentional killing—the required threshold under international law for imposing the death penalty—was presented at his trial,” the statement read.

“Ramin Hossein Panahi’s case has been a breath-taking miscarriage of justice from start to finish,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research and Advocacy Director, adding, “During the investigation period he was denied access to both his lawyer and his family, as well as to any details of the evidence against him.”

Luther further characterized Panahi’s trial as “a complete mockery of the judicial process,” adding that Iranian “intelligence officials also repeatedly pressured him to make a televised ‘confession’ in exchange for the quashing of his death sentence. His refusal to submit to this pressure has seen him languishing in solitary confinement.”

Amnesty International urged Iranian authorities “not to compound this shocking catalogue of human rights violations by proceeding with what is the ultimate and irreversible denial of human rights.”

Meanwhile, Panahi’s brother has said in a tweet that Ramin was taken to solitary confinement in preparation for his execution on Thursday.

Panahi has been in jail since July 2017 on charges of taking part in a clash with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, but his lawyer, Hossein Ahmadi Niaz, told Radio Farda that “he has never taken up arms.”

Niaz also told Radio Farda that Panahi’s execution would be illegal as he still can call for an appeal at another court, which he says they will do as soon he receives the necessary documents regarding Panama’s sentence.

In his interview with Radio Farda, Diaz insisted Panahi is innocent and that there is no evidence he ever used a gun.

An Amnesty International report released in April said Iran executed at least 507 people last year and has one of the world's worst records in relation to the death penalty and human rights.