Accessibility links

Breaking News

Prisoner In Iran Who Escaped During Coronavirus Jail Unrest Is Hanged

Mostafa Salimi, who was executed on Saturday, April 11, 2020, in Saqqez prison. Undated FILE PHOTO

The Islamic Republic hanged an Iranian of Kurdish origin early Saturday morning in a prison in the city of Saqqez, in Kurdestan province, western Iran.

Earlier, human rights activists had raised alarm that the Islamic Republic was set to execute two political prisoners. Mostafa Salimi, 53 was one of the two. The fate of the other is not yet clear.

On March 27, Salimi had managed to escape along with tens of other inmates during a protest by inmates against prison conditions amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The Islamic Republic security forces initially arrested Salimi in 2003. A court had sentenced him to fifteen years in prison and execution for "waging war against God", which is a serious charge of rebellion against the Islamic government.

After the breakout from prison Salimi fled to Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region.

According to Iran Human Rights (IHR), under pressure from Iran, Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) extradited Salimi to Iran.

"Iran Human Rights considers Salimi's extradition from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq a violation of international human rights conventions," said the NGO.

"The death penalty is an inhumane punishment. In addition, Mostafa Salimi’s execution was against all international norms. He was sentenced to death by the Revolutionary Courts without a fair trial and due process," IHR director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said, adding, "Executions in Iran have continued to be carried out even after the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and lockdown in the country. It shows the death penalty is crucial for the Islamic Republic’s survival".

The Islamic Republic judicial authorities unexpectedly called his family Friday to visit him. While Salimi was not in good spirits during the visit, the subject of the execution was never raised, his relatives said, adding that to their surprise, he was hanged a day later April 11, in Saqqez prison.

At least eight prisons in Iran, including the one in Saqqez, have recently been the scene of protests by inmates demanding furlough out fear from the coronavirus outbreak.

Amnesty International and Iranian human rights groups say the Islamic Republic security forces have so far killed more than 35 inmates during prison protests.