Political Prisoners of Urmia Prison Shaker Behrouz and Nayeb Askari Go on Hunger Strike

On Thursday, March 31, two political prisoners Shaker Behrouz and Nayeb Askari went on hunger strike in Urmia Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, On Thursday, March 31, political prisoner Shaker Behrouz went on hunger strike to protest his relocation to Ward 2 of Urmia Prison where the violent crime offenders were held. Another political prisoner of Urmia prison Nayeb Askari also went on hunger strike after he was sent to the quarantine section.

Earlier, on August 26, 2021, despite the prison doctor’s recommendation for hospitalization, prison officials refused to send Nayeb Askari to a hospital outside the prison. In protest, he went on hunger strike, which ended after a few days.

Askari was arrested by IRGC intelligence agents in Urmia in April and transferred to IRGC detention centres. He was eventually transferred from the IRGC Intelligence Detention Center to the city prison in June, after completing the interrogation process. Askari has been charged with “collaborating with an opposition party”.

On July 12, 2021, a new case was opened against him following the complaint of the head of Urmia Prison. For this case, he was sentenced to three months more imprisonment and 50 lashes for the charge of “Disrupting prison order”.

On Tuesday, October 5, 2021, political prisoner Shaker Behrouz was sentenced to death despite a strong alibi pointing to his innocence.

The indictment alleges that Behrouz murdered a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

According to an informed source, security agents threatened the victim’s family, who was an IRGC member, to cut their allowance from the Foundation of Martyrs and Veterans Affairs, if they refused to accuse Behrouz.

Another informed source close to the victim’s family also said that the family does not believe he is guilty and ready to testify to his innocence.

Twelve eye-witnesses signed a statement expressing their readiness to testify that Mr. Behrouz was in his shop when the crime was committed. Despite all the above, the court convicted the defendant without the presence of the family as accusers and hearing of eye-witnesses.


Shaker Behrouz on a Hunger Strike in Urmia Prison

Political prisoner Shaker Behrouz has been on a hunger strike since June 13 in Urmia Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Behrouz’s hunger strike is in protest of his unjust death sentence and long-term detention in solitary confinement.

Behrouz became a member of one of the Iranian Kurdish opposition parties located in Iraq in 2018, but later that year, he got a safe-conduct letter and returned to Iran.

32-year-old Behrouz was first arrested by Ministry of Intelligence agents in March 2019 and sentenced to five years in prison for membership in an opposition party (KDP).

Later, Branch 2 of the Urmia Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Ali Sheikh Lou, further sentenced Mr. Behrouz to death on charges of armed rebellion through membership in an opposition party and the murder of a member of the Revolutionary Guards.

12 separate people testified that at the time of the murder, Behrouz was in a shop in Dizaj town of Urmia city, nowhere near the scene of the crime. However, the court refused to hear the witnesses’ statements and convicted him anyway.

An informed source additionally told HRANA that the victim’s family has stated they did not file a lawsuit against Mr. Behrouz and believe in his innocence. They are even willing to testify in court to that end.

Shaker Behrouz is the son of Salim, and a resident of the Dizaj region of Urmia city in West Azerbaijan Province.