Kurdish political prisoner hanged in Iran

 

Tehran, June 17 (IANS/AKI) A Kurdish political prisoner was hanged in Iran for being an “enemy of God” and for committing “propaganda against the state”, rights groups reported on Wednesday.

Mansour Arvand was executed on Sunday in Miandoab prison in the northwest of the country, rights groups said, citing unofficial reports.

Arvand, a 39-year-old former wrestler from the northwest Iranian Kurdish city of Mahabad, was in 2011 sentenced for the capital crime of ‘Moharebeh’ or “enmity towards God’. He denied all charges.

He was also convicted of “propaganda against the state and membership of the Kurdistan Democratic Party,” according to the rights groups.

Iran Human Rights said Arvand’s brother, Esmaeil, confirmed the reports that his brother has been put to death. The group condemned Arvand’s execution and urged Iran’s hardline authorities to try political prisoners “fairly and openly in the presence of reporters and a jury”.

Arvand was denied a visit from kin before he was hanged and his family was only informed on Monday of his execution, Iran Human Rights and the Human Rights Defenders Association of Kurdistan said.

He was executed despite the fact that he was told his sentence had been commuted to life in prison, according to the opposition National Council of Resistance.

Arvand was arrested at his home on June 14, 2010, and spent months in the custody of Iranian intelligence services. He spent four yeas in various prisons including the intelligence prison of Mahabad and Tehran’s Evin prison and was severely tortured.

During his detention, he was suffering from a kidney infection and other illnesses as a consequence of his torture, according to the National Council of Resistance.

Arvand’s hanging has angered activists in Iran and abroad who had expressed hope that the government of President Hassan Rouhani would improve the situation of many Kurdish political prisoners.

Despite the 2013 election of Rouhani, who has been described as a moderate and a centrist, Iran continues to rank among the world’s biggest executioners.

Over 400 prisoners have been executed in Iran since the beginning of this year, according to Iran Human Rights. Iran put to death 289 prisoners in 2014, the second-most in the world, and at least 454 more prisoners were executed without acknowledgment by the Iranian authorities, Amnesty International reported.

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