Kurdish political prisoners Pezhman Fatehi, Mohsen Mazloum, Mohammad Faramarzi and Vafa Azarbar are at imminent risk of execution after the Supreme Court approved their death sentences.
Their families reportedly traveled to Tehran’s Evin prison late on Saturday after being called by authorities for “their first and last visit” since their arrests, the relatives announced on social media.
The four men were arrested in Urmia, West Azerbaijan, on 22 June 2022 and have been held incommunicado ever since. They reportedly were tortured into delivering forced confessions broadcasted by state media. Ultimately, the Tehran Revolutionary Court, following proceedings marred by serious violations of fair trial and due process standards, sentenced them all to death for moharebeh (enmity against god) and efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth) on alleged espionage charges for Israel.
Earlier, Mohsen Mazloum’s wife, Joanna Taimasi told Iran Human Rights: “They were arrested a year and a half ago and we’ve heard nothing since. We have no information about their location and health. Last week, a lawyer told us that my husband and his friends’ sentence had been issued by Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court and upheld by Branch 9 of the Supreme Court. These sentences were issued in an unfair trial with only a court-appointed lawyer present. Each of them had a court-appointed lawyer but they wouldn’t even let their own lawyers read the case. Ultimately, their sentences were upheld within 24 hours.”
“In June 2022, they travelled to Urmia unarmed and on behalf of the Komala party for political activities where they were arrested. The Islamic Republic aired their forced confessions after 80 days in which they were tortured to say they were Mosad agents and Israeli spies and had planned to blow up an industrial centre in Isfahan,” she added.
On January 12, Impact Iran warned of the increased numbers of executions in Iran.
“We are deeply alarmed and appalled by the chilling surge in executions, including against those who have expressed dissent since the onset of the Woman Life Freedom movement in September 2022 following the death of Jina Amini in morality police custody. As a tool for intimidation, these executions are part of a broader campaign to spread fear among the Iranian population, quash any form of dissent, and force Iranians into self-censorship. So far, the authorities have executed at least eight individuals for alleged acts connected to the protests. More are at imminent risk of execution,” the group said in a statement.
Impact Iran represents a coalition of 17 non-governmental organizations that draw attention to the situation of human rights in Iran, and encourage the Iranian government to address concerns expressed by the international community and international human rights bodies.
On January 23, the Iranian authorities arbitrarily executed Mohammad Ghobadlou, a 23-year-old protester with a mental disability.