Iranian Sunni prisoner Kamran Sheikheh

Amnesty Warns of Imminent Execution of Kurdish Prisoner in Iran

Friday, 05/17/2024

Amnesty International is warning of the imminent execution of Kurdish Sunni prisoner Kamran Sheikheh, the last survivor of seven men arbitrarily condemned to death, highlighting the continued escalation in the country's execution spree.

“Earlier today, Kamran Sheikheh, the last remaining survivor of this group, was transferred to solitary confinement, raising concerns he is at imminent risk of execution,” the human rights organization wrote Thursday on X.

Sheikheh was detained in December 2009 alongside Anwar Khezri, Ghasem Abasteh, Ayoub Karimi, Farhad Salimi, Davoud Abdollahi, and Khosrow Besharat.

The Kurdish men faced allegations over reportedly trumped-up charges, including "moharebeh," "corruption on earth," "supporting Salafi groups," and the killing of an imam named Abdolrahim Tina in 2008. The charge of “moharebe” (waging war against God) and “corruption on earth” both carry the death penalty in Iran.

In 2017, the men were sentenced to death, but the Supreme Court overturned the verdict and referred the case to Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. Despite this, Branch 15 reissued the death sentences in June 2018, and the Supreme Court confirmed these sentences in February 2020.

Besharat was executed this week, two weeks after Khezri, Abdollahi and Salimi were killed in January, and Abasteh and Karimi were executed last November.

In published letters, Besharat and the other defendants repeatedly asserted their innocence, denying the charges against them.

An Amnesty International report last month, titled "Don't Let Them Kill Us" showed that there were an unprecedented number of executions in Iran in 2023, noting that at least 853 were killed – with a large number of minorities, including Kurds, among them.

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