Three Retribution Execution Sentences Carried Out in Zahedan

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Three prisoners held at Zahedan Prison were executed in the early morning hours of September 3, 2018 — sooner than expected — allegedly in a vindictive response to recent skirmishes between security forces and Jundullah, an armed opposition group based in the Sistan & Baluchestan province.

Though all three prisoners were already on death row, the carrying out of their sentence so soon after the clash gives reason to read the timing as a retaliatory gesture.

Indeed, on September 1, 2017, one day following the skirmishes, all three were transferred to solitary confinement per protocol for prisoners whose execution is imminent. The executed prisoners were identified as Dormohammad Shahbakhsh, 21, a resident of Zahedan, held in Ward 5; Ismaeil Shahbakhsh (pictured above), known as Beheshti, age 23, held in Ward 4; and Hayatullah Nutizehi (Ayatollah Nikzehi), known as Akbar, age 24, a resident of Pakistan.

Sistan & Baluchestan has a history of politically-motivated executions. At least 16 prisoners were put to death in similar circumstances in October of 2013. At that time, Zahedan Prosecutor Mohammad Marziyeh stated that those executed were “terrorist groups who were enemies of the regime”, adding, “they were executed Saturday morning in response to terrorist activities in Saravan the night before.” He did not reveal the names of the prisoners.

Shahbakhsh, Beheshti, and Nutizehi were sentenced to death by Branch 2 of the Zahedan Revolutionary Court back in November of 2017. Their conviction and sentence were upheld in Iran’s Supreme Court one month later. They stood accused of participating in a firefight with police forces on July 7, 2015, which led to the death of a police officer. Although all three denied having a hand in the officer’s death, they were charged as accessories to murder. At the time of their arrest, Ismaeil Shahbakhsh and Hayatullah Nutizehi had also sustained gunshot wounds.

The three wrote an open letter last autumn detailing mistreatment and torture at the hands of their interrogators. They wrote of having surrendered during the 2015 clash when security forces promised them immunity, only to then arrest, torture, and arrange for the three to be put to death. The letter also details instances of their torture by interrogators, such as having pepper rubbed into their wounds or their genitalia pricked by needles.

News of their execution has yet to be announced by the Iranian authorities.

Baluchi plight laid bare in exiled prisoner letter

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Three Baluchi political prisoners exiled to the northwestern city of Ardabil wrote an open letter in critique of the Iranian authorities and to raise public awareness about the plight of their people.
From Ward 7 of Ardabil Central Prison, Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi, Shirahmad Shirani, and Noor Ahmad Hassanzehi wrote of dysfunctions plaguing the infrastructure of the Sistan and Baluchestan province, and of government inaction against the severe desiccation of Hamoun Lake.
Their letter concludes with a poem entitled “Friendship Is Our Long-Lasting Treasure,” which celebrates the unity among the different ethnicities of the Sistan and Baluchestan province.
Their letter is below, translated into English by HRANA:
Greetings, our dear Sistani peoples, especially those around Hirmand and Hamoun,
As exiled Baluchi political prisoners, we regard it as our duty to declare solidarity and express support to you, noble and kind fellows, through these troubles of our day. From the bottom of our hearts, we wish the best to you and to all the peoples of our province. We wish you emancipation from dictatorship.
How inconceivable it is to live this way! With border regions barren of water, electricity, gas, housing, employment, and of basic amenities like schools, roads, heating and cooling, toilets, and now, of the natural right to breathe; what is left to do but to survive, but to suffer? And for how long?
Clean air is the unconditional and vital right of all living beings. Despite this, some — who pursue personal and organizational profiteering, are guilty of mismanagement or carelessness, or persist in the mass theft of subterranean marine resources — have blighted this ancient erudite land with chaos and suffering. This birthplace of brave souls like Rostam, Sohrab, and Yaqub Leith; this place of Iranian linguistic and social renaissance.
How can we bear to see Sistan, the fertile crescent of ancient Iran, abandoned to a fate steered by those who caused this chaos, i.e. the regime and its agents?
The carelessness and profiteering of the regime’s authorities must cease its exploitation of the immense natural, cultural, and ethnic wealth of Sistan and Baluchestan, by ceasing the stripping of its precious gold and ore mines and the closing of its borders, the sole gateways to hope for the regions’ people in this era of poverty and destitution. Their job is not to gamble Sistani lives. You are the authorities! It’s your duty to heal the disorder you’ve caused.
What have you done all these years to restore Hamoun Lake and its wetlands? What have you done besides spend billions of rials on a border wall, fence, moats, towers, watchtowers, and other border controls? How much have you spent on the welfare of this region’s people? How much on the restoration of Hamoun Lake and wetlands, equal parts a cause and excuse for our insecurity? How will you restore hope and comfort to these poor and wronged Sistani farmers and fishermen? With lies, with promises?
You, our fellow Sistanis, people of our province, should know that we, the Baluchi people, irrespective of the regime and its schemes, will stand up to any abuse that violates your rights. We will condemn it. We will put our lives on the line for you.
Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi, Shirahmad Shirani, Noor Ahmad Hassanzehi
Exiled Baluchi political prisoners,
Ward 7 of Ardabil Central prison
August 30, 2018