Iran: UN independent experts condemn secret execution of Kurdish prisoner


Two UN-appointed independent rights experts condemned the arbitrary execution in the strongest terms on Wednesday, of an Iranian Kurdish prisoner as a sign of “clear disregard for their obligations under international human rights law”.

The prisoner, Heidar Ghorbani, was secretly executed in Sanandaj Central Prison at dawn on Sunday – without prior notice to his family or lawyer. Prison authorities then secretly buried his body, according to a statement released on behalf of the experts.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran executed Mr. Ghorbani in secret, on the basis of overbroad provisions, following a deeply flawed process, and while his case was still under consideration by the Supreme Court”, said Javaid Rehman, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran and Morris Tidball-Binz, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

Fear mongering

Mr. Ghorbani was arrested in October 2016, in connection with the killing of three men affiliated with the Basij paramilitary forces – reportedly by individuals associated with an armed opposition group. 

He had denied membership of the group, along with any involvement in the killing.

And notwithstanding that a Revolutionary Court concluded that he was unarmed, they still sentenced him to death on a charge of “baghy” (armed rebellion) following an unfair trial and allegations that he was tortured, said the OHCHR release.

“We deeply regret that, despite our multiple interventions on Mr. Ghorbani’s case, the authorities chose to proceed with his execution”, the UN experts said.

In the context of continuing protests and widespread dissatisfaction with the authorities, they worried that such an arbitrary execution had been carried out to “spread fear”.

‘Clear disregard’

The Special Rapporteurs described the act as “yet another sign of clear disregard for their obligations under international human rights law – and for international human rights mechanisms”.

“We call on the Government to halt the imposition and execution of the death penalty”, they underscored.

Previously, the independent experts had raised concerns with the Government of Iran over the death sentence, torture allegations, and fair-trial violations against Mr. Ghorbani and also brought the matter to public attention.

The Government send comments to OHCHR in response.

Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN 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 paid for their work.

Categorized as Asia