Iran’s Supreme Court upheld the death sentences for seven Kurd Sunni political prisoners after 11 years of detention. According to Iran Human Rights Monitor, this is the third time the Supreme Court has confirmed the death sentences for the seven Kurd men identified as Farhad Salimi, Qasem Abasteh, Davoud Abdollahi, Ayoub Karimi, Anvar Khezri, Khosro Besharat and Kamran Sheikheh.
Before the 38th Branch of the Supreme Court confirmed their death sentences on September 10, the 41st and 42nd Branches of the Court had upheld the executions.
The seven Iranian Sunni political prisoners are currently in Karaj’s Rajaie Shahr Prison west of Tehran.
According to the report, the families of the men have asked for an appeal. The men were arrested in 2009 for the murder of Abdolrahim Tina, a Sunni cleric. They have also been charged with “acting against national security”, “spreading propaganda against the state”, “membership in Salafi groups”, “corruption on earth” and “moharebeh” or waging war against God.
The seven Iranian Sunni political prisoners have denied the murder of the Sunni cleric and say they were arrested solely for their religious activities. Iran is a predominantly Shia country and the regime discriminates against the Sunni minority.
Farhad Salimi, is a 42-year-old Sunni cleric from Saqqez, western Iran. Forty-one-year-old Qasem Abasteh, Davoud Abdollahi who is married and is the father of two, and 36-year-old Kamran Sheikheh are all from Mahabad, also in Western Iran.
Tortured to make false confessions
The men have said that they were severely tortured during their initial detention to make false confessions. Over the last 11 years, they have been denied medical treatment and have been subjected to pressure in prison.
In a letter from prison in February, Khosro Besharat said that he was brutally tortured to say he was a member of al-Qaida and was involved in the murder of a soldier.
“They hung me from the ceiling by my hands for hours and tied me to a bed and lashed the soles of my feet with high voltage electrical cables,” the Kurd Sunni political prisoners wrote.
“I felt like my brain would come out of my mouth and my eyes would come out of their sockets,” he added.
Besharat said that the tortures continued for three weeks.
“While under torture and threats against my family, the interrogator wrote down the confessions that were dictated to me and forced me to sign and put my fingerprint on the bottom of the confessions.”
“I felt as though I was not even in this world and I did not know what I was signing,” he wrote.
The tortured political prisoner said that he was blindfolded when he was forced to sign the confessions.
The regime systematically tortures prisoners for coerced confessions. In a September 2 report, Amnesty International shed light on the widespread use of torture including beatings, floggings, electric shocks, stress positions, mock executions, waterboarding, sexual violence, forced administration of chemical substances, and deprivation of medical care against protesters detained during the last round of protests in November 2019.