The death sentence against seven Kurdish Sunni prisoners of conscience Anwar Khezri, Kamran Shekhe, Khosro Besharat, Dawoud Abdollahi, Farhad Salimi, Qasem Abasteh and Ayoub Karimi was upheld by the Branch 41 of Supreme Court. The verdict was formally communicated to Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabai, their lawyer, on Monday, February 3, sources told Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN).
They were sentenced to death by Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran in June last year on charges of “corruption on earth”, presided by Judge Salavati. The verdict was upheld while the same branch of the Supreme Court had previously referred the case to Branch 41 of Tehran Revolutionary Court in June for lack of sufficient evidence.
According to sources familiar with the case of these 7 Kurdish Sunni prisoners, the Supreme Court has upheld the death sentences of the above-mentioned prisoners under pressure from the Orumiyeh and Mahabad Intelligence Service.
According to the letters written by Anwar Khezri and Farhad Salimi during the past year, the verdict was solely based on the forced confessions which several of them had made under severe torture, threats, and insults despite lack of evidence. They have denied the charges against them during their trials.
Anwar Khazri, Kamran Shekhe and Khosrow Besharat were tried by the Orumiyeh Court of Appeal July on another charge of “killing a Sunni cleric Abdul Rahim Tina”. The three Sunni prisoners were summoned to Orumiyeh Prison in July 2019 and the sentence was officially served on them in prison.
According to the verdicts, Anwar Khezri and Khosrow Besharat were sentenced to ten years in prison for participation in murder and Kamran Shekhe was sentenced to death for murder.
Anwar Khezri has written an open letter about his attempt to commit suicide when interrogated at the Ministry of Intelligence Detention Centre in Orumiyeh in protest to being under physical and psychological torture.
In August last year, Farhad Salimi wrote an open letter to Ibrahim Raisi, the head of the Islamic Republic’s judiciary, and complained about how the charges against them were handled while revealing the selective behaviour of the judicial authorities and the pressure of the security services on the families of these prisoners.
Anwar Khezri, Kamran Shekhe, Khosro Besharat, Dawoud Abdollahi, Farhad Salimi, Qasem Abasteh and Ayoub Karimi were detained by security forces on December 7, 2009, and transferred to the Detention Centre affiliated with the Ministry of Intelligence in Orumiyeh. They were taken to Evin Prison in Tehran after eight months of interrogation. They were kept in solitary confinement in wards 240 and 209 for six months. They were finally transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj on April 25.
In late March 2016, the trial of these seven prisoners was held at Branch 28 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court headed by Judge Moghaseh on charges of “acting against national security”, “propaganda against the state”, “membership in Salafi groups” and “corruption on earth”. On May 25, 2016, the death sentence was officially served on them in prison. Their lawyer contested the verdict and the case was referred to the Supreme Court which overturned the death sentence in 2017.