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for Human Rights in Iran

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Amnesty International

Iran: Further information: Kurdish man and woman risk execution

Amnesty International
January 14, 2011
Appeal/Urgent Action

Further information on UA: 88/10

Index: MDE 13/006/2011

Hossein Khezri, a member of Iran's Kurdish minority, is at imminent risk of execution. He has been transferred from Oromieh prison in north-west Iran to Tehran, the capital. On 13 January, officials of the Oromieh Revolutionary Court informed Hossein Khezri's brother that the execution order from the Prosecutor's Office had been received.

Hossein Khezri is a 28 or 29-year-old Kurd sentenced to death for "enmity against God", a charge related to his membership of the Party for Free Life of Kurdistan, although he says his activities were only political. His lawyer has confirmed that Hossein Khezri has been transferred to Tehran, but he does not know the reason. He has apparently not been notified yet of a date for his client's execution. However, some executions in Iran are carried out without legal notification being provided to the convicted person's lawyer. Hossein Khezri's brother has stated that his brother told him in early January 2011 that he was recently pressured to "confess" on camera to involvement in armed conflict and to killing several people. Hossein Khezri refused to do so, as he said he had not killed anyone.

Hossein Khezri was arrested in Kermanshah, north-west Iran, in 2008 and was sentenced to death after his trial in May 2009. His sentence was upheld on 8 August 2009. He said he was tortured and asked for an investigation, but his request was denied. He wrote a letter from prison to international organizations at the end of October 2010 and it was published on the website of an opposition political party on 6 November 2010. In his letter, he said that he was tortured in detention centres belonging to the Revolutionary Guards in Kermanshah and Oromieh and also at a Ministry of Intelligence detention facility.

Zeynab Jalalian, 28, another member of Iran's Kurdish minority, also remains on death row at risk of execution. Her eyesight is said to be deteriorating, possibly as a result of blows to the head she received during her interrogation. The prison authorities have reportedly refused to allow her access to an eye specialist.

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Persian, English, Kurdish or your own language:
Urging the Iranian authorities not to execute Hossein Khezri and Zeynab Jalalian; Calling on them to commute their death sentences and to retry them in fair proceedings in line with international law and to disregard any evidence obtained under torture or other ill-treatment; Stating that Amnesty International recognizes the right and responsibility of governments to bring to justice, in conformity with international standards for fair trial, those suspected of criminal offences, but opposes the death penalty as the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and violation of the right to life.

Leader of the Islamic Republic
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street - End of Shahid Keshvar Doust Street, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: [email protected]ader.ir
via website: http://www.leader.ir/langs/en/index.php?p=letter (English)
Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani
[Care of] Public Relations Office
Number 4, 2 Azizi Street
Vali Asr Ave., south of Pasteur Street intersection
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: [email protected] (In subject line: FAO Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani) Salutation: Your Excellency

And copies to:
Secretary General, High Council for Human Rights
Mohammad Javad Larijani
High Council for Human Rights
[Care of] Office of the Head of the Judiciary, Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhuri, Tehran 1316814737, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: [email protected] (In subject line: FAO Mohammad Javad Larijani)

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the second update of UA 88/10. Further information: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE13/038/2010/en


Both Hossein Khezri and Zeynab Jalalian were convicted of "moharebeh" (enmity against God) for membership of the Party for Free Life of Kurdistan (known by its Kurdish acronym PJAK) and sentenced to death.

Hossein Khezri's lawyer told the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, a human rights organization, that under Iranian law, a death sentence can be implemented in the same city in which the sentence was handed down, and there is no need for transfer to another city, and he hoped that his client's transfer to Tehran was for further review of his case rather than for execution. He also said that he is waiting to hear whether the Supreme Court will accept his request for a final review of Hossein Khezri's conviction and sentence, but that until he is notified of their decision, there is nothing to stop the local judiciary carrying out the execution.

In his letter, written from Section 12 of Oromieh Prison, Hossein Khezri said that he was tortured in detention centres belonging to the Revolutionary Guards in Kermanshah and Oromieh, north-west Iran and also at a Ministry of Intelligence detention facility, by methods including beatings for several hours a day; threats against himself and his family; kicks to the genitals which caused bleeding and severe swelling for 14 day; kicks to the legs resulting in an 8cm wound which was still open in late 2010; and harsh baton blows to the entire body for 49 days, causing bruising and inflammation. He said that he complained about his treatment and was then moved for three days to an Intelligence Ministry facility in February 2010 where he was interrogated about his complaint. His father died from a heart attack after hearing his son had been moved from prison, apparently because he feared Hossein had been executed. Hossein Khezri also said he was told if he "confessed" on TV, his death sentence would be commuted to imprisonment. He added: "The time of my execution has not been told to me, I do not know if it will be tomorrow, or the day after, or tonight, and I am not allowed visitors and cannot even let any one know that I am still alive."

Zeynab Jalalian was sentenced to death around January 2009 by Kermanshah Revolutionary Court. Before that, she had spent eight months in a Ministry of Intelligence detention facility, where she says she was tortured. During that time her family had no information concerning her fate. She was not granted access to a lawyer during her trial, which she said lasted only a few minutes. Zeynab Jalalian's death sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court on 26 November 2009. In early March 2010, Zeynab Jalalian was moved from Kermanshah Prison to an unknown location, possibly a detention facility of the Ministry of Intelligence. In late March 2010, she was transferred to Section 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran, hundreds of miles away from her home. At the end of June 2010, unconfirmed reports were widely circulated that Zeynab Jalalian's execution was imminent, but she was not executed. In December 2010, a witness who was imprisoned with Zeynab Jalalian reported that Zeynab Jalalian had been flogged on the soles of her feet and subsequently was struck in the head by a broken bottle, causing her scalp to bleed profusely. She continues to be in poor health, seemingly as a consequence of her reported ill-treatment in prison.

Kurds, who are one of Iran's many minority groups, live mainly in the west and north-west of the country, in the province of Kordestan and neighbouring provinces bordering Kurdish areas of Turkey and Iraq. They experience religious, economic and cultural discrimination (see Iran: Human Rights Abuses against the Kurdish minority, July 2008, Index MDE 13/008/2008). For many years, Kurdish organizations such as the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) and the Marxist group Komala conducted armed struggle against the Islamic Republic of Iran. The PJAK, formed in 2004, aims to establish in Iran a "democratic system in which all citizens: Iranians, Kurds, Azarbaijanis, Baluch, Turkmans, Arabs and all other ethnic groups within the framework of the democratic system can govern themselves". It carried out armed attacks against Iranian security forces, but declared a unilateral ceasefire in 2009, although it still engages in armed clashes with security forces in what it terms "self-defence". On 19 October 2010 it called for a peaceful solution to the "Kurdish issue" in Iran. Amnesty International condemns attacks on civilians, as well as indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, which violate fundamental principles of humanitarian law.