Former Death Row Juvenile Offender Saman Naseem Released on Bail
Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Saman Naseem, a Kurdish juvenile offender who was arrested seven years ago and was once on death row, was freed on a five billion IRR (approximately $35,000 USD) bail on October 16, 2018.
Naseem’s death sentence was commuted to five years in prison by the Appeals Court of West Azerbaijan Province, located on Iran’s northwestern border with Turkey and Iraq.
Originally scheduled in February, Naseem’s release was delayed by a new lawsuit brought against him in August 2018 by the family of a late agent of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The agent’s surviving family members — along with the family members of three others who were injured in armed clashes in 2011 — demanded “Qesas,” or “eye-for-an-eye” retribution permissible under Iran’s Islamic Penal Code.
Naseem was 17 years old when he participated in the clashes on the side of the Kurdish opposition. His role incurred charges of “Moharebeh [Enmity against God]” and “corruption on earth” in Mahabad Revolutionary Court, which sentenced him to death in 2013. Iran’s Supreme Court upheld the sentence in December of that year.
Naseem’s lawyers appealed the verdict, obtaining a retrial in a parallel appeals court. This court acquitted Naseem, commuting the capital punishment sentence to five years in prison, upholding the charge of “membership in an armed opposition group, namely the Kurdistan Free Life Party [commonly known by its Kurdish-language acronym PJAK].” The Supreme Court upheld his commutation.
Naseem — who had no access to legal representation during the preliminary investigation of his case — alleges that authorities tortured him while he was in custody, pulling nails from his fingers and toes and suspending him upside down from the ceiling.