End Draws Near for Zahedan Death Row Prisoner

Posted on: September 5th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – After 11 years of confinement, a Zahedan prisoner on death row for murder charges has been transferred today, September 5, 2018, to solitary confinement per protocol for detainees whose execution is imminent.

HRANA has confirmed the prisoner’s identity: Mehdi Sarani, 37, of Zabol. He is now in Ward 4 of the Central Prison of Zahedan (capital of the southeastern province of Sistan & Baluchestan and home to Baluchi minority).

According to Amnesty International’s annual report, Iran ranks first in the world in executions per capita.

An annual report published by the Center of Statistics at Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI) states that more than 60% of executions in Iran are not reported by the state or the Judiciary. These executions are referred to as “secret executions.”

According to registered data from 2,945 reports by the Statistics, Publications, and Achievements Division of HRAI, in the past year (from March 21, 2017, to March 18, 2018) at least 322 citizens were executed and 236 others were sentenced to death in Iran. Among these were the executions of four juvenile offenders and 23 public hangings.

Zahedan Death Row Prisoner Now in Custody of the IRGC

Posted on: August 30th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – Abubakr Rostami, a political prisoner on death row, was transferred from Ward 4 of Zahedan Central Prison to an IRGC detention center on August 28, 2018. To date, HRANA is unable to confirm the reason for his transfer.

A source close to Rostami told HRANA, “A few days ago, prison authorities told Rostami he was not to use the library or gym, then on Tuesday they transferred him outside.”

Rostami was among a group of political prisoners in Zahedan who addressed a letter to UN special rapporteur Javaid Rehman, imploring him to advocate for political prisoners’ rights.

Prior to this, in an open letter co-written by Bandeh Chakerzehi and Sajjad Baluch — the two arrested with him on September 16, 2015– Rostami proclaimed their innocence, stating the IRGC and Intelligence Agency exerted physical and mental torture on them on charges that were “bogus”.

In the letter, Rostami wrote of the trip to Pakistan he was planning in anticipation of making arrangements for continuing his studies [abroad]: “Due to border limitations, I was forced to travel through Pakistan to get to [another] foreign country, but I was arrested midway and handed over to the IRGC,” he wrote.

A second-year medical student at Zabol University of Medical Sciences, Rostami has spent the past three years in prison. In August 2017, along with Chakerzehi and Baluch who were on trial for the same case, he was sentenced to death by the Revolutionary Court of Zahedan on charges of “Moharebeh” (enmity against God) and “Acting Against National Security through Cooperation with Opposition Groups”.

No further details on their case or charges were available.

*Zahedan is a county in the Sistan and Baluchestan Province.

Ramin Hossein Panahi Sews Lips Shut, Declares Hunger Strike

Posted on: August 27th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – The lawyers of Ramin Hossein Panahi, a Kurdish political prisoner who has been sentenced to death, announced on August 27th that he had sewn his lips together and begun a hunger strike in protest to the violation of his legal rights.

Hossein Panahi’s lawyers published a statement today explaining that their client has been denied the right to appeal and the right to amnesty, among others. According to the statement, Hossein Panahi had been transferred to Karaj’s Rajai Shahr Prison on August 13th for unidentified reasons and has been unreachable since his transfer out of Rajai Shahr.

One of Hossein Panahi’s lawyers, Hassan Ahmadiniaz, elaborated in the statement the four motivations behind his client’s hunger strike:

1- Deprivation of legal rights, including medical treatment outside the prison as requested by the authorities of the Sanandaj Central Prison clinic,

2- Unlawful cessation of his phone contacts and visitations with family and lawyers,

3- Deprivation of customary prisoners’ rights and access to prison facilities,

4- The unlawful and unjust nature of the sentence in light of the necessity to reassess his charges through the customary legal channels.

In their statement, Hossein Panahi’s lawyers appeal to articles 477 and 474 of the penal code, requesting that their client’s execution be stopped so that “legal avenues to appeal may be explored for his sentence, or the client may benefit from amnesty.”

Ahmadiniaz revealed in June 2018 that Hossein Panahi’s request for a retrial had been rejected.

Hossein Panahi was convicted of “Acting against national security by violating the rights of others” and sentenced to death by Branch One of Sanandaj’s Revolutionary Court. The Supreme Court confirmed this sentence in late March and forwarded it to the Enforcement Department.

The statement, signed by Ahmadiniaz, Maziar Tatayi, and Osman Mozayan, indicates that Hossein Panahi will continue his strike until his demands are met.