Kurdish Political Prisoner Executed In Iran; Two Others Sentenced to Death
An Iranian Kurdish political prisoner was executed in the early morning hours of October 26th. Habibollah Golparipour, 29, had spent the last four years of his life in prison, where he was subject to the abusive treatment and torturous practices of Iran’s prison system. Golparipour had been arrested in 2007 for his “alleged links with the armed Kurdish opposition group Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK)” and he was sentenced to death in 2010 under a charge of “moharebeh” (enmity against God). Police reportedly found him in possession of political books at his arrest. His father, Nasser Golparipour, did an interview in 2011 where he explained the circumstances of his son’s sentencing:
My son is very young. I have repeatedly told officials to do something so that my son can return to his life. I even told presiding Judge Khodadai, “My son is young and he had made a mistake. Please don’t respond to his mistake by committing one as well.” He replied, “Your son was arrested with books. He would receive a two-year prison sentence.” After the death sentence was issued, I went to see [the Judge]. I told him, “You promised me.” He replied, “I wasn’t able to do anything.
During his incarceration, Golparipour was tortured physically and psychologically — so severely his arm and leg were broken — and denied family visitations. He was also transferred between prisons multiple times, without any warning. In an attempt to protest the intolerable conditions of his imprisonment, he engaged in multiple hunger strikes, one of which lasted 15 days. When Goliparipour was executed on Saturday, his parents were not given prior notice.
Kurds like Golparipour are subject to this kind of vicious political persecution. Various laws — like the one forbidding “enmity against God” — are applied arbitrarily and prosecuted inconsistently, but a death sentence could easily be the penalty for stepping out of line. Many more Kurds await their executions on death row, including brothers Zanyar and Loghman Moradi, who are currently incarcerated in Raja’i Shahr Prison.
The Moradis are convicted of the assassination of Saadi Shirzadi, the son of a Friday prayer leader. However, an IHRDC report reveals the written confessions which secured the sentence were forcibly obtained; the brothers also say they were tortured into writing then. The two brothers deny any involvement in Shirzadi’s killing. According to the Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, judicial authorities have bolstered efforts to ensure their death sentence is upheld and their executions carried out. The brothers spoke out about the circumstances of their imprisonment and death sentence in a letter, and calling for a just resolution:
“Our expectations remain unaddressed after many pieces of correspondence and our requests of judicial authorities for a re-trial. We do not expect the trial and punishment of those who tortured us and treated us inhumanely and immorally. But we still expect the Marivan Friday Imam to act honestly and courageously, as is expected of his religious position, and as he repeatedly promised….The Friday Imam could have … taken a long step toward our release by admitting that we are innocent and that he has no grievances against us.”