15 December: Three Kurds Executed in Iran


Urmia Prison, Iran

Urmia Prison, West Azerbaijan Province of Iran: On Friday 15 December three Kurds were summarily executed in Urmia prison, among them Gafur Mirza, who’s father was executed last year. Part of Gafur’s last words were allegedly:

“My only fault is to be Kurdish.They hang me for it.”

Urmia Prison sees more than its share of executions and persecution. Two prisoners were executed just last month after a three year prison term for alleged drug charges, and nothing is known about five Kurdish prisoners in Urmia who were transferred to an unknown location without prior warning or notification.

Kurdish activists have been targeted all across Iran, not just in Urmia. Habibollah Litifi was arrested in 2007 and has been under threat of execution since 2008. Adnan Hassanpour was also arrested in 2007 and, after his death sentence was appealed, sentenced to 15 years in prison. Hassanpour is the longest serving prisoner among all imprisoned Iranian journalists. Kurdish prisoners Zanyar and Luqman Moradi have been under threat of execution since 2009.

Iran has slowly been restricting all access to civil society organizations, particularly those centered around Kurdish activists. Kurds are disproportionately represented in Iranian prisons, where the court system is quick to hand down death sentences or extended prison sentences.