The brother of an Iranian Kurdish man on death row says the prison authorities have told the dissident that he would either be executed or killed behind bars.
Arrested in June 2016 for alleged membership in the Kurdish Nationalist party (Komala), 23-year old Ramin Hossein Panahi is currently incarcerated in the central prison of Sanandaj, capital city of Kurdistan province, western Iran.
Hossein Panahi was charged with taking up arms against the Islamic Republic and sentenced to death by a Revolution Court in January 2018. Later the Supreme Court upheld the decision.
In a tweet on Thursday, July 5, Ramin’s brother, Amjad Hossein Panahi cited authorities of the prison in Sanandaj as warning the young dissident, “You are not going to leave this block, and will either be executed, or killed in the prison.”
On Monday July 3, in another tweet, Amjad had also reported of a session attended by the local Prosecutor, the representative of Islamic Revolution Guards Corps and the Governor where they finally decided to carry out the death sentence issued against Ramin.
"The head of the intelligence section of Sanandaj prison has threatened Ramin, ordering his murder by their own agents in the prison," Amjad Hossain Panahi told Kurdish website, Rudaw.
Panahi’s parents were taken to prison to see their son earlier this week.
Ramin’s relatives are deeply concerned about his safety after he was moved to a cell for detainees facing drug charges.
Panahi was moved within Sanandaj prison on Wednesday, according to pro-Kurdish human rights news agency, Hengaw.
However, prosecutors in Kurdistan have repeatedly maintained that Ramin had received military training and was armed with grenade, carrying a colt and AK rifle at the time of his arrest.
So far, the only evidence published against Ramin is a picture showing him armed with an automatic rifle.
Nevertheless, his lawyer denies that Ramin had been armed and insists his client was simply visiting family at the time of his arrest.
In an interview with Radio Farda, Hossein Ahmadi Niaz, reiterated that his client has never taken up arms, adding, “Ramin’s execution would be illegal as we still can call for an appeal at another court.”
Furthermore, Ahmadi Niaz has argued, “Membership in an opposition party is not an offence that warrants the death penalty.”
International human rights organizations, including New York based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), London based Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have repeatedly called upon the Islamic Republic’s authorities to review the case against 23-year old Ramin Hossein Panahi.
In a statement published May 1, Amnesty International said a court in Iran sentenced Ramin Hossein Panahi to death “after an unfair trial” in January.
“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,” AI’s statement read.
“Ramin Hossein Panahi’s case has been a breath-taking miscarriage of justice from start to finish,” said Amnesty International’s Middle East Research and Advocacy Director, Philip Luther, 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.”