Six Kurdish villagers living in the Western Azerbaijan province of Iran have been sentenced to death and lengthy jail terms.
The villagers from the 'Ghoreh Sagh’ in the neighbourhood of Oshnavieh (Shno in Kurdish) were recently sentenced to death and long jail sentences in Iran after they were charged with “Moharebeh” (enmity against God) because of their alleged membership to a Kurdish party.
According to information obtained by the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) in June 2016, several citizens of the village were arrested following clashes between Peshmerga fighters of the of Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) and Iranian government’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).
Rassoul Azizi, Mohamad Zaher Faramarz, Yaghoub Baakram and two brothers Jalal and Kamal Masrouri were arrested on 19 June 2016.
The six men, who are all civilians, were kept in the Iranian government’s Intelligence Agency detention centre in Urmia, where they were brutally interrogated and faced torture for 45 days.
A few weeks later on 3 August 2016 another Kurdish citizen, Hedayat Ghaderi, was also arrested.
Ghaderi was also transferred to the Urmia Intelligence Agency detention centre, where he faced severe torture for over two months, including electrical shocks, lashes with cables on his feet and being hung upside down to force him to admit to a fabricated confession. Ghaderi was transferred to Urmia Central Prison after having spent two months at the detention centre.
The first trial of the six men was held on 17 January 2017. According to the KHRN a legal aid lawyer was present and the court session began under the presidency of Judge Chabok in Branch One of Urmia's Islamic Revolutionary Court.
The judge issued the following sentences:
– Hedayat Abdullahpour was sentenced to death
– Rassoul Azizi : sentenced to 25 years in jail
– Mohamad Zaher Faramarzi : 20 years in jail
– Marsoei brothers: 15 years for Jalal and 10 years and one day for Kamal, respectively.
– Yaghoub Bakram : 15 years and one day
The sentences were confirmed to the aid lawyer a few days ago.
A source told the KHRN that the only crime the men had committed was to take food to the PDKI Peshmerga fighters.
"It was considered by the court as sufficient evidence that they are members of the PDKI and acted against the state. It was enough to sentence them to death and long jail sentences."
The source said: "The lawyer was very confident and declared to their families that they will be acquitted of the ‘Moharebeh’ charges because there is no evidence against them. But all of them were still charged with ‘Moharebeh’. Hedayat Abdullahpour, sentenced to death, wasn’t even there when the clashes occurred. He came back a few days after the clashes and it has been clearly videotaped by the surveillance cameras of the city. He was arrested some 50 days after the clashes had happened."
The source added: “After they [the six prisoners] arrived at Urmia Central Prison, Hedayat Abdullahpour was taken to the psychological care department of the prison, while the other five were taken to the two wings of the prison known to be used to jail some of the most dangerous prisoners."
Membership to Kurdish parties and engaging in pro-Kurdish politics is illegal in Iran. Hundreds of people are arrested and imprisoned every year accused of "Moharebeh". According to official figures more than 6m Kurds live in northwestern Iran, which Kurds call Rojhelat or Eastern Kurdistan.
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