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Despite Authorities’ Denial, HRANA Confirms the Executions in Uremia Prison

Posted on: 14th August, 2016
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Amir Azizi People gathering in front of Uremia Prison / Jabrail Kanaani's obituary

HRANA News Agency – Although the families of 7 prisoners including Mohammad Abdollahi’s family had been summoned to Uremia Prison for the last visit and on August 9 the names of 5 executed prisoners were read for the families in front of the prison and at least 4 corpses were delivered to the families, the Head of Prisons Office in West Azerbaijan province denied the execution of 6 prisoners in Uremia prison. However he failed to specify if he denied the number of executed prisoners or the executions in general which has left Mohammad Abdollahi’s family in confusion.

According to the report of Human Rights Activist News Agency in Iran (HRANA), during the last hours of August 7, the families of 7 prisoners who had been taken to solitary confinements were summoned to Uremia Prison to visit their beloved ones for the last time before the execution.

On August 8, 6 drug offenders and a political prisoners were transferred to solitary confinements of Uremia prison to be executed.

On the same day their families were summoned to the prison to visit them for the last time and the prisoners’ properties were given to them as many people had gathered in front of the prison. One of the authorities told them: “Don’t gather here, we will call you to come and receive the corpses,” which caused tensions between the families and prison authorities which led to detention of some of families’ members. Some of the families were even beaten.

On the morning of August 9, the names of 6 prisoners including Mohammad Abdollahi were read to their families as the authorities announced their execution and 4 corpses were delivered to them.

After some hours, reports indicated that 2 of these prisoners namely Tohid Pourmehdi and Parisa Hatami (Agai) were not executed and returned to their wards.

The corpses of Kamran Pourraft (Pourrafaat), Amir Azizi, Jahangir Razavizade and Jabrail Kanaani were delivered to their families but the Head of the Prison told Mohammadi Abdollahi’s family: “We have sent his body to Imam Khomeini hospital, got and get it there,” When they went to the hospital, they were asked for a permission. When they went to the court, they were sent to an irrelevant branch where they were told that Mohammad was executed, they would not receive the body and they could only hold a private funeral at home and not in a mosque.

Mohammad Abdollahi’s family then returned home and held a funeral.

But on August 10, the Head of Prisons Office in West Azerbaijan province in very short remarks denied “the execution of 6 prisoners in Uremia Prison.” Given that HRANA had first reported the execution of 6 prisoners which was corrected after new reports showed that Tohid Pourmehdi had survived, too, it is unclear if he wanted to deny the just the number of executions or the whole report in general. He made no comments about Mohammad Abdollahi.

Although HRANA and other human rights organizations have been reporting about execution in Uremia Prison since a long time ago, it is very rare for an official authority to react to these reports. This raises the concerns that the denial’s goal was to control the international reactions to these executions.

Mostafa Ahmadian, Mohammad Abdollahi’s lawyer told HRANA’s reporter that the situation “is now very complicated and Mohammad Abdollahi’s family are deeply confused after these remarks.” He said he hoped that the denial was true and his client could have survived.

The news about the execution of 6 other prisoners including Saman Naseem in Uremia Prison had also been played previously. The judicial authorities’ long silence in that case caused a deep confusion for the families and human rights activists and after weeks it was known that only Saman Naseem and Younes Aghayan had survived.

In a similar behavior the authorities have only announced the execution of 20 Sunni prisoners in Rajai Shahr Prison, however only 5 of 36 prisoners who had been transferred to solitary confinements have returned to the ward.

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