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Iran Supreme Court Upholds Death Sentence For Kurdish Political Prisoner - Rights Group

Heydar Ghorbani, a Kurdish political prisoner, is in danger of imminent execution. FILE PHOTO.
Heydar Ghorbani, a Kurdish political prisoner, is in danger of imminent execution. FILE PHOTO.

Hengaw Kurdish human rights group on Saturday reported that reliable sources have confirmed Heydar Qorbani (Ghorbani), a Kurdish political prisoner in Iran is to be executed soon.

According to Hengaw, the sources have said that the Supreme Court has upheld Qorbani's sentence – based only on forced confessions -- and the verdict will soon be carried out in Sanandaj Prison.

Judiciary officials and Qorbani's lawyers have not commented on the report by Hengaw.

Heydar Qorbani's and his brother-in-law Mahmoud Sadeqi, residents of a small village of Kamyaran in Kurdistan Province, were arrested in October 2016 on charges of cooperation in the killing of several members of the Revolutionary Guard and membership in the outlawed Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (DPIK).

In 2017 the English channel of the Iranian state-run television, Press TV, aired a documentary titled "The Death Driver" which contained forced confessions of Qorbani who said he had driven DPIK teams involved in the assassination or kidnapping of several Revolutionary Guard members. Qorbani's family say the so-called "confessions" were made under duress and torture.

In a statement on July 15 following the execution of two Kurdish men in Urumieh Prison in West Azarbaijan Province, Amnesty International said at least five prisoners from Iran's Kurdish minority – including Qorbani -- were at risk of execution who had been targeted for real or perceived affiliation with armed Kurdish political opposition groups.

According to Amnesty another Kurdish prisoner on death row, Hedayat Abdollahpour, has been forcibly disappeared since May 9, 2020 as the authorities refuse to reveal the truth concerning his secret execution and return his body to his family.

A seventh Kurdish prisoner, Mostafa Salimi, was executed on April 12, 2020 in the city of Saqqez, in Kurdistan province. He was executed shortly after he was recaptured in apparent reprisal for his escape from prison in late March amid protests and riots over the spread of COVID-19 in Iran's prisons.

"All men were sentenced to death following grossly unfair trials which took place between 2016 and 2020 and relied primarily or exclusively on “confessions” obtained without the presence of a lawyer and under torture and other ill-treatment," Amnesty said.

“Iran’s increasing use of the death penalty as a political weapon for repression is alarming and warrants the immediate attention of the international community. Without urgent diplomatic and public action, more lives in Iran are at risk of being cut short by the state’s execution machine,” said Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International's researcher on Iran.