Sunni Death-Row Prisoner Khosrow Besharat Executed in Ghezel Hesar

On May 15, 2024, Sunni prisoner Khosrow Besharat was executed in Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj after enduring over 14 years of imprisonment.

As reported by HRANA earlier, he was moved to solitary confinement 14 days ago to await his execution. On May 13, he had his final family visit.

In the same legal case, Ghasem Abasteh, Ayoub Karimi, Davoud Abdollahi, Farhad Salimi, and Anvar Khezri were also executed in the same prison. Khezri was executed today, May 15, 2024.

The case stems from the assassination of Abdolrahim Tina, the Imam of a mosque in Mahabad, in September 2008. In January and February 2010, Besharat and six other Sunni suspects were arrested in connection with the killing.

Initially sentenced to death by Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided over by Mohammad Moghiseh, Besharat’s sentence was initially overturned by the Supreme Court. The case was then reassigned to Branch 15 of the same court, presided over by Judge Salavati, who reinstated the death sentences for Besharat and six other defendants. The Supreme Court ultimately upheld their death sentences on February 3, 2020.

Sunni Death-Row Prisoner Moved to Solitary Confinement Ahead of Possible Execution

Khosrow Besharat, a Sunni prisoner on death row, was transferred to solitary confinement in Ghezel Hesar Prison on May 1, raising concerns about his possible imminent execution.

His family is gravely worried as five other prisoners from the same case, Ghasem AbastehAyoub KarimiDavoud Abdollahi, Farhad Salimi, and Anvar Khezri were executed in the same prison. The latter was executed today, May 1.

The case stems from the assassination of Abdolrahim Tina, the Imam of a mosque in Mahabad, in September 2008. In January and February 2010, Besharat and six other Sunni suspects were arrested in connection with the killing.

Initially sentenced to death by Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided over by Mohammad Moghiseh, Besharat’s sentence was initially overturned by the Supreme Court. The case was then reassigned to Branch 15 of the same court, presided over by Judge Salavati, who reinstated the death sentences for Besharat and six other defendants. The Supreme Court ultimately upheld the death sentences for Besharat and his co-defendants on February 3, 2020.

Execution of Sunni Prisoner Anvar Khezri in Ghezel Hesar Prison

On May 1, 2024, Anvar Khezri, a death-row Sunni prisoner, was executed in Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj after spending over fourteen years imprisonment.

A source close to his family confirmed the execution and noted that Khezri’s family is traveling to Mahabad for the funeral.

In the same legal case, four other Sunni prisoners—Ghasem Abasteh, Ayoub Karimi, Davoud Abdollahi, and Farhad Salimi—had been previously executed in the same prison.

The case dates back to September 2008 when Abdolrahim Tina, the Imam of a mosque in Mahabad, was assassinated by unidentified individuals. In January and February 2010, Khezri and six other Sunni suspects were arrested in connection to the assassination.

Khezri faced multiple charges during his detention, including enmity against God (Moharebeh), allegedly for sympathizing with Salafism—a charge he consistently denied. After spending fourteen months without resolution, Khezri was moved to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj, where he stayed until his transfer to Ghezel Hesar Prison in August of the same year.

Initially sentenced to death by Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided over by Mohammad Moghiseh, the verdict was overturned by the Supreme Court. The case was then assigned to Branch 15 of the same court, presided over by Judge Salavati, who reinstated the death sentences for Khezri and six other defendants. This time, the Supreme Court confirmed the death sentences for Khezri and his co-defendants.

Sunni Prisoner Farhad Salimi Executed in Ghezel Hesar, Karaj

On January 23, 2024, Sunni Prisoner Farhad Salimi was executed in Ghezel Hesar, Karaj, following more than 13 years of incarceration.

In this legal case, three other Sunni defendants—Ghasem Abasteh, Ayoub Karimi, and Davoud Abdollahi—were executed on November 5, November 29, 2023, and January 2, 2024, respectively.

A source close to Salimi’s family informed HRANA that they had not received any phone calls from him in the days leading up to the execution, and the family was not formally notified about the carrying out of the sentence.

The unnamed source, citing security concerns, expressed, “A psychological game was played with the Salimi family; no official took responsibility to inform them about his whereabouts, status, or any plans they had for him. The family was not even formally notified about the execution; we only learned about it through his fellow inmates. The family is actively seeking further inquiries and custody of the body.”

The roots of the case trace back to September 2008 when Abdolrahim Tina, the Imam of a mosque in Mahabad, was assassinated by unidentified individuals. In January-February 2010, Salimi and six other Sunni suspects were arrested in connection to the assassination.

During his detention, Salimi faced multiple charges, including enmity against God (Moharebeh), allegedly through sympathizing with Salafism—a charge he consistently refuted. After spending fourteen months in legal limbo, Salimi was transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison, Karaj, where he remained until his relocation to Ghezel Hesar Prison in August of the current year.

Initially sentenced to death by Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided over by Mohammad Moghiseh, the verdict was later overturned by the Supreme Court. The case was then assigned to Branch 15 of the court, presided over by Judge Salavati, who reinstated the death sentences for him and six other defendants—Anvar Khezri, Kamran Sheikheh, Davoud Abdollahi, Khosro Besharat, Ghasem Abasteh, and Ayoub Karimi. This time, the Supreme Court confirmed the death sentences for him and his co-defendants.

Twelve Individuals Facing Execution for Alleged Security-Political Charges

As of now, a minimum of twelve prisoners in Iran are on the verge of execution, convicted of security-political charges such as “enmity against God (moharebeh), spreading corruption on the Earth, and collaboration with adversary countries.”

HRANA has confirmed their imprisonment in various facilities, including Evin (Tehran), Ghezel Hesar (Karaj), Sheyban Prison (Ahvaz), Dizelabad (Kermanshah), and Zahedan Prisons.
The Tehran Revolutionary Court, specifically Branch 26 and 28 led by Judges Iman Afshari and Mohammad Moghiseh, respectively, is responsible for the majority of these verdicts.

Below is a detailed account of some of these individuals and their current legal status:

Mohsen Mazloum

Mohsen Mazloum

  • Prison: Evin Prison, Ward 209
  • Most Serious Charges: Due to the denial of access to case details for his lawyer, the precise charges leading to the verdict remain undisclosed. However, following the arrest, the Ministry of Intelligence accused him of collaborating with Israel, attempting to sabotage a military facility in Isfahan, and affiliating with the Komala Party (a Kurdistan organization associated with the Communist Party of Iran).
  • Court: Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, Judge Iman Afshari
  • Current Status: Death sentence confirmed in Branch 9 of the Supreme Court. Retrial request rejected.

 

Pezhman Fatehi

Pezhman Fatehi

  • Prison: Evin Prison, Ward 209
  • Most Serious Charges: Due to the denial of access to case details for his lawyer, the precise charges leading to the verdict remain undisclosed. However, following the arrest, the Ministry of Intelligence accused him of collaborating with Israel, attempting to sabotage a military facility in Isfahan, and affiliating with the Komala Party (a Kurdistan organization associated with the Communist Party of Iran).
  • Court: Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, Judge Iman Afshari
  • Current Status: Death sentence confirmed in Branch 9 of the Supreme Court. Retrial request rejected.

 

Vafa Azarbar

Vafa Azarbar

  • Prison: Evin Prison, Ward 209
  • Most Serious Charges: Due to the denial of access to case details for his lawyer, the precise charges leading to the verdict remain undisclosed. However, following the arrest, the Ministry of Intelligence accused him of collaborating with Israel, attempting to sabotage a military facility in Isfahan, and affiliating with the Komala Party (a Kurdistan organization associated with the Communist Party of Iran).
  • Court: Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, Judge Iman Afshari
  • Current Status: Death sentence confirmed in Branch 9 of the Supreme Court. Retrial request rejected.

 

Mohammad (Hazhir) Faramarzi

Hazhir Faramarzi

  • Prison: Evin Prison, Ward 209
  • Most Serious Charges: Due to the denial of access to case details for his lawyer, the precise charges leading to the verdict remain undisclosed. However, following the arrest, the Ministry of Intelligence accused him of collaborating with Israel, attempting to sabotage a military facility in Isfahan, and affiliating with the Komala Party (a Kurdistan organization associated with the Communist Party of Iran).
  • Court: Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, Judge Iman Afshari
  • Current Status: Death sentence confirmed in Branch 9 of the Supreme Court. Retrial request rejected.

 

Description:
On July 23, 2022, Mohsen Mazloum (28), Pezhman (Pejman) Fatehi (28), Vafa Azarbar (29), and Hazhir (Hajir) Faramarzi (29) were apprehended by Iran Police Intelligence (FARAJA) in Sumay-ye Beradust District, Urmia County.

Tasnim, a news agency affiliated with security institutions, reported their arrest, alleging the formation of “a network of Israeli spies.” According to Tasnim, the individuals were in possession of operational and communication equipment, as well as explosive materials. The agency claimed they had entered the country from the Kurdistan region with intentions of conducting unprecedented terrorist operations in strategically sensitive locations.

Approximately 80 days post their arrest, Iran’s state TV broadcasted coerced confessions, accusing them of espionage for foreign intelligence. The confessions stated they had been apprehended in sensitive sites in Isfahan.

In response to what he deemed an unjust and unfair trial, their attorney, Masoud Shams Nejad, asserted, “Since taking on this case as their legal representative, my clients and I have been denied any rights as a lawyer and defendants, rendering my role as their legal representative existing only on paper.”

Anvar Khezri

Anvar Khezri

  • Prison: Ghezel Hesar Prison, Karaj
  • Most Serious Charges: Enmity against God (Moharebeh) through membership in a Salafi group, and involvement in the assassination of Mamusta Abdolrahim Tina.
  • Court: Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, Judge Mohammad Moghiseh
  • Current Status: Death sentence confirmed by the Supreme Court.

 

Kamran Sheikheh

Kamran Sheikheh

  • Prison: Ghezel Hesar Prison, Karaj
  • Most Serious Charges: Similar to Anvar Khezri
  • Court: Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, Judge Mohammad Moghiseh
  • Current Status: Death sentence confirmed by the Supreme Court.

 

 

Farhad Salimi

Farhad Salimi

  • Prison: Ghezel Hesar Prison, Karaj
  • Most Serious Charges: Similar to Anvar Khezri
  • Court: Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, Judge Mohammad Moghiseh
  • Current Status: Death sentence confirmed by the Supreme Court.

 

 

Khosrow Besharat

Khosrow Besharat

  • Prison: Ghezel Hesar Prison, Karaj
  • Most Serious Charges: Similar to Anvar Khezri
  • Court: Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, Judge Mohammad Moghiseh
  • Current Status: Death sentence confirmed by the Supreme Court.

Currently incarcerated in Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj, these four Sunni prisoners were part of a group arrested in January-February 2010, accused of aiding in the assassination of Abdolrahim Tina, the Imam of a mosque in Mahabad, which occurred in February 2010.

 

Description:
Originally sentenced to death by Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided over by Mohammad Moghiseh, the verdict was later overturned by the Supreme Court. Subsequently, the case was transferred to Branch 15 of the court, led by Judge Salavati, who reinstated the death sentences for Davoud Abdollahi, Anvar Khezri, Kamran Sheikheh, Farhad Salimi, Khosro Besharat, Ghasem Abasteh, and Ayoub Karimi. On this occasion, the Supreme Court confirmed the death sentences for them and their co-defendants. Among them, Abasteh, Karimi, and Abdollahi have been executed.

Reza Rasaei

Reza Rasaei

  • Prison: Dizelabad, Kermanshah
  • Most Serious Charges: Involvement in the killing of Nader Beyrami, head of IRGC Intelligence, during protests in Sahneh County, Kermanshah province.
  • Court: Branch 1 of the Criminal Court of Kermanshah
  • Current Status: Death sentence confirmed by the Supreme Court.

 

Description:
Rasaei, 34 years old and known as a Yarsan follower residing in Sahneh County, was arrested on November 24, 2022, by the police and subsequently detained in Sahneh County. After the completion of the interrogation process, he was transferred to Dizel-Abad prison in Kermanshah.

His arrest followed the murder of Nader Beyrami, the head of IRGC Intelligence, in Sahneh County during the 21st annual commemoration ceremony of the death of Seyeed Khalil Alinejad, a leader of the Yaresan community.

Farshid Hassan-Zahi

Farshid Hassan-Zahi

  • Prison: Ward 9 of Zahedan Prison
  • Most Serious Charges: Shooting at the police station vehicle, causing the death of a conscript and a first lieutenant.
  • Court: Branch 1 of the Criminal Court of Zahedan
  • Current Status: Death sentence issued, awaiting confirmation by the Supreme Court.

 

Description:
Arrested for shooting at a police vehicle, Hassan-Zahi, aged 26, currently awaits confirmation of his death sentence.

Mansour Dahmardeh

Mansour Dahmardeh

  • Prison: Ward 9 of Zahedan Prison
  • Most Serious Charges: Spreading Corruption on Earth
  • Court: Branch 2 of the Criminal Court (Shahid Nouri) in Zahedan
  • Current Status: Death sentence issued.

 

Description:
Dahmardeh, a 23-year-old citizen with disabilities, was apprehended during the 2022 nationwide protests in Zahedan and confined to the city’s prison. In January 2023, Branch 2 of the Criminal Court (Shahid Nouri) sentenced him to death on charges of “spreading corruption on earth.” Despite his poor health condition, he has been denied sufficient medical care in Zahedan Prison.

Abbas (Mojahed) Korkori

Mojahed Korkori

  • Prison: Sheiban Prison, Ahvaz
  • Most Serious Charges: Enmity against God (Moharebeh) through using a weapon, spreading corruption on earth, and forming a rebellion group.
  • Current Status: Death sentence confirmed by the Supreme Court

 

Description
Mizan, the judiciary’s news agency, claims that Korkori is responsible for killing 10-year-old Kian Pirfalak during protests in Izeh. However, Pirfalak’s parents have repeatedly denied these accusations and claimed that their son was killed in a shooting by regime forces. Zeinab Molaei-Rad, Kian’s mother, said during his funeral, “On the way back home, the regime agents opened fire on our car.”


The due process involving these twelve death-row convicts reveals a troubling trend of violations against the rights of citizens and prisoners in Iran. Some prisoners, who have managed to communicate from within prison, claim they have endured torture and coerced confessions. In cases where communication was restricted, families have attested to confessions obtained under duress, highlighting the inhumane treatment by judicial and security officials and a blatant disregard for human rights.

Iran’s judicial-security institutions have a long history of constructing legal cases, leveling false accusations, and engaging in torture and mistreatment against political prisoners. These actions constitute a clear violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other internationally ratified conventions.

Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights emphasizes that “Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.”

Furthermore, Article 5 of the declaration unequivocally states that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.”

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Sunni Prisoner Davoud Abdollahi Executed in Ghezel Hesar

On January 2, 2024, Davoud Abdollahi, a Sunni prisoner, was executed in Ghezel (Qezel) Hesar Prison, Karaj, marking the end of his 13-year incarceration.

A source close to his family informed HRANA that the execution occurred without prior notice to his family. Abdollahi had been transferred to solitary confinement on December 26, following a hunger strike he initiated.

In a related legal case, two other Sunni defendants, Ghasem Abasteh and Ayoub Karimi, were executed on November 5 and November 29, 2023, respectively.

The origins of the case date back to September 2008 when Abdolrahim Tina, the Imam of a mosque in Mahabad, was assassinated by unidentified individuals. In January-February 2010, Abdollahi and six other Sunni suspects were arrested in connection to the assassination.

While in detention, Abdollahi faced multiple charges, including enmity against God (Moharebeh), allegedly through sympathizing with Salafism—a charge he consistently refuted. After spending fourteen months in legal limbo, Abdollahi was transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison, Karaj, where he remained until his relocation to Ghezel Hesar Prison in August of the current year.

Initially sentenced to death by Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided over by Mohammad Moghiseh, the verdict was later overturned by the Supreme Court. The case was then assigned to Branch 15 of the court, presided over by Judge Salavati, who reinstated the death sentences for Abdollahi and six others—Anvar Khezri, Kamran Sheikheh, Farhad Salimi, Khosro Besharat, Ghasem Abasteh, and Ayoub Karimi. This time, the Supreme Court confirmed the death sentences for him and his co-defendants.

Sunni Prisoner Ayoub Karimi Executed in Karaj

Ayoub Karimi, a Sunni prisoner, was executed today, November 29, in Qezel (Ghezel) Hesar Prison, Karaj, after enduring more than 13 years of incarceration.

Karimi had been moved to solitary confinement in the prison the previous Sunday, foreshadowing his imminent execution.
Notably, in this legal case, another Sunni prisoner, Ghasem Abasteh, met the same fate in the same prison on November 5 of this year.

The legal case traces back to September 2008 when Abdolrahim Tina, the Imam of a mosque in Mahabad, was assassinated by unidentified individuals. In January-February 2010, Ayoub Karimi and six other Sunni suspects were arrested and accused in connection to the assassination.

Subsequently, Karimi was charged with “enmity against God (Moharebeh) through sympathizing with Salafism,” a charge he consistently refuted. After spending fourteen months in legal limbo, Karimi was transferred to Rajai Shahr prison, Karaj, where he remained until his relocation to Qezel Hesar Prison in August of this year.

Initially sentenced to death by Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided over by Mohammad Moghiseh, the verdict was later overturned by the Supreme Court. The case was then assigned to Branch 15 of the court, presided over by Judge Salavati, who reinstated the death sentences for Ayoub Karimi and six others – Anvar Khezri, Kamran Sheikheh, Farhad Salimi, Khosro Besharat, Ghasem Abasteh, and Davoud Abdollahi.

This time, the Supreme Court confirmed the death sentences for Ayoub Karimi and his co-defendants.

Sunni Prisoner Ghasem Abasteh Executed in Qezel Hesar, Karaj

On November 5, 2023, Ghasem Abasteh, a Sunni prisoner who had spent 13 years and 9 months behind bars, was executed in Qezel Hesar, Karaj.

Abasteh’s ordeal through the legal system began in January-February 2010 when he was initially arrested. After enduring 14 months of uncertainty in Evin and Urmia Prisons, he found himself in Rajai Shahr Prison, located in Karaj. This year, in August, he was transferred to Qezel (Ghezel) Hesar Prison.

Throughout his ordeal, Abasteh faced multiple charges, including the serious accusation of “enmity against God” (Moharebeh) due to his alleged sympathies with Salafi Groups, a religious movement within Sunni Islam, which he consistently denied.

In February-March 2016, he and six other Sunni prisoners received a death sentence from Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court. However, this verdict was later overturned by the Supreme Court, leading to the case being transferred to Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court.

Judge Salavati, presiding over this court, handed down the death sentence to these six individuals again on June 17 and 18, 2019. This time, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for Ghasem Abasteh, along with Anvar Khezri, Kamran Sheikheh, Farhad Salimi, Khosro Besharat, Ayoub Karimi, and Davoud Abdollahi.

According to data compiled by the Center of Statistics of Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA), between October 10, 2022, and October 8, 2023, a total of 659 individuals were executed by hanging in Iran, representing a 24% increase compared to the corresponding period in the previous year. Seven of these executions were conducted publicly. Concerningly, many of the defendants were denied access to a fair trial and due process. For details and statistics, read HRANA’s report.

Seven Death Row Sunni Prisoners Awaiting New Trial

HRANA News Agency – Seven Sunni prisoners in Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj who had formerly been sentenced to death by the Supreme Court, are still in a state of uncertainty on the eve of the ninth year of their imprisonment.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), seven Sunni prisoners, including Davoud Abdollahi, Kamran Sheikheh, Farhad Salimi, Anvar Khezri, Khosrow Besharat, Qasim Abesteh, and Ayoub Karimi, are detained since December 7, 2009 and were sentenced to death by judge Moghiseh of Branch no. 28 of the Revolutionary Court, in March of 2015. The sentences were not approved by Judge Razini in the Supreme Court; however, after eight years of imprisonment, they remain in a state of uncertainty. Continue reading “Seven Death Row Sunni Prisoners Awaiting New Trial”

3 Sunni Prisoners on Trial in Urmia

HRANA News Agency – Anvar Khezri, Kamran Shikhe and Khosro Besharat three Sunni prisoners who have been jailed since 2009 and their death sentences were rejected by the Supreme Court in 2016, were transferred to Urmia prison from Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj to be tried again.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Anvar Khezri, Kamran Shikhe and Khosro Besharat three Sunni prisoners who along with Davood Abdollahi, Farhad Salimi, Ghasem Abbeste and Ayoub Karimi have been jailed since December 7, 2009, were transferred to Urmia prison from Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj. Continue reading “3 Sunni Prisoners on Trial in Urmia”