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The UN Calls On Iran To Halt Execution Of Kurdish Prisoners

Loghman and Zanyar Moradi, imprisoned Iranian-Kurdish activists.

The United Nations has urged Iran to halt the executions of three Kurdish men.

The Islamic Republic has vowed to execute cousins Zanyar and Loghman Moradi, and Ramin Hossein Panahi on Saturday, UN rapporteurs said in a statement on September 8.

"We urge the Government of Iran to immediately halt their executions and to annul the death sentences against them in compliance with its international obligations," said Agnes Callamard and Javaid Rehman, Special Rapporteurs for the UN.

Death row inmates, Loghman and Zanyar Moradi, have been transferred to the quarantine section of notorious prison, Rajaei Shahr, near Tehran, without any official explanation.

According to the Office of the UN High Commissiponer for Human Rights (OHCHR), Zanyar and Loghman Moradi were arrested in August 2009 for the alleged murder of the son of an Imam in Marivan, Kurdistan province. They were subsequently held at an intelligence detention center for nine months without formal charges or the opportunity to challenge the legality of their incarceration.

Ramin Hossein Panahi from Iran’s Kurdish minority who was sentenced to death for “taking up arms against the country".
Ramin Hossein Panahi from Iran’s Kurdish minority who was sentenced to death for “taking up arms against the country".

The rapporteurs have insisted, “They were also severely beaten, tied up in restricted stress positions and threatened with rape, in order to force them to confess to the murder. In December 2010, they were brought before the revolutionary court in the capital Tehran where they were sentenced to death by public hanging in a trial that “apparently lasted only 20 minutes.”

Furthermore, the rapporteurs have noted that the Iranian Supreme Court has upheld their convictions, and that the allegations of torture were not investigated.

“During the trial, they both denied the charges in court and explained that they had confessed to the crimes only due to torture following their initial arrest,” said OHCHR in its statement.

The news release also stated that fears of their imminent execution have been raised amid reports that they were transferred to solitary confinement on 5 September, their families asked to visit them, and their access to telephones restricted.

The experts also reiterated their previous calls to halt Mr. Panahi’s execution – reportedly due to occur at the same time – and annul his death sentence in light of reports that he did not receive a fair trial and has been tortured in detention.

Mr. Panahi was arrested last June for alleged membership in a separatist armed branch of Kurdish group Komala, was repeatedly beaten in detention, denied medical care and access to a lawyer, and held in solitary confinement until January.

Meanwhile, Panahi’s brother, Amjad, has called for his brother’s public trial, insisting that he is a political and civil rights activist.

UN Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they are paid for their work.