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Fears Of Secret Executions Mount For Disappeared Prisoners In Iran

Amnesty International logo.
Amnesty International logo.

Amnesty International has called on the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran to determine the status of four prisoners sentenced to death who have been transferred from prison to unknown locations.

"The authorities’ refusal to provide the families of the men with information has sparked fears that they are at risk of being tortured or executed in secret", AI said in a statement on Wednesday, May 13.

Hossein Silawi, Ali Khasraji, and Naser Khafajian have been forcibly disappeared since March 31, 2020, and Hedayat Abdollahpour since May 9, 2020, after being transferred from their usual places of detention to undisclosed locations.

Their enforced disappearance, AI asserted, has taken place amid an apparent rise in the number of executions since April 2020, including in prisons populated by ethnic minorities, which has further heightened concerns about their safety and well-being.

Meanwhile, AI has insisted that Iranian authorities must immediately reveal the truth about the fate and whereabouts of Hossein Silawi, Ali Khasraji, and Naser Khafajian, three death row prisoners from Iran’s Arab minority, and Hedayat Abdollahpour, a death row prisoner from Iran’s Kurdish minority.

"All four men were sentenced to death following grossly unfair trials and amid serious torture allegations, which have never been investigated. They were denied access to their lawyers and families, as well as to any details of the evidence against them, during the investigation period", AI disclosed in its statement, adding, "According to individuals with direct knowledge of their cases, security and intelligence officials repeatedly pressured them to make self-incriminating statements, which were then used by courts to issue convictions against them."

Ali Khasraji, 27, Hossein Silawi, 31, and a noncommissioned officer of the Islamic Republic security forces, Nasser Khafajian, 34, have been condemned to death for an armed attack on a police station in 2017, in Ahvaz, the capital city of the oil-rich province of Khuzestan, southwest Iran.

In the meantime, a Kurdish rights website, Hengaw, reported on May 9 that a political prisoner sentenced to death, Hedayat Abdollahpour, had been transferred from the political ward of the central prison in the city of Urmia (Orumieh) to an unknown location outside the jail.

Abdollahpour, of Kurdish origin, has been sentenced to death for participating in a clash between Revolutionary Guard forces and members of a dissident Kurdish group, the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI).