Oct 20, 2010

Iranian Kurdistan: Two Kurds Executed In Iran For Unknown Reasons

Was the sudden execution of two Kurdish brothers part of an Iranian campaign to silence dissidents?


Below is an article published by Rudaw:


Lawand’s prison term was going to finish next year. His 15-year old daughter and 10-year old son have ticked many cells of a calendar that is being hung on a wall of their house, marking the days left to ultimately see their father back. This dream never came true.


Lawand Yusuf Mirza, 32, and his brother Syamend Yusuf Mirza,31, were both executed on October 10, 2010 for unknown reasons, according to the family and lawyers who said that they had not even been informed in advance about a death-penalty verdict being made against the two suspects who had already gone under prosecution by the Court of Zanjan Province.


“Syamend got a life-sentence and Lawand was sentenced for an 8-year prison term,” said the youngest brother, Karmend Yusuf Mirza.


He added that the verdict was made because Syamend was found with 3 kilograms of drugs and Lawand with a pestle nearly six years ago. 


But according to the Iranian Law, there is no death penalty for either of the two charges.


Thus, some people believe that the reason behind the deaths was political, as members of ethnic Kurds often face death sentences for political activism aimed at establishing an autonomous Kurdish rule in the Kurdish cities of Iran.


The family, who has moved to live Soran town, an Iraqi Kurdish town near Erbil, soon after its two members were arrested, said that they were told a month before the execution was implemented that there sons were going to be prosecuted once again. But they say that none of the nine lawyers they hired was allowed to see the court files containing charges against the suspects.


On the day that Syamend and Lawand were hung, their father was asked to go to Zanjan for untold purpose. He was hopeful that this time he would bring his sons home and start a new life. 5 other Persian co-workers of Syamend were already released.


But the father, himself, did not come back alive either. He faced a heart stroke and died after he was told that his sons were hung and denied to take the corpses back.


The Iranian Government is reportedly accused of hanging Kurdish dissidents secretly and often denies returning the coffins to prevent a fuss that may arise afterwards in the Kurdish cities.


The Kurdish prisoners, who talk to their families by phone, say that there is a high level of discrimination committed between Persian and Kurdish prisoners and detainees.


“Last year when the Iranian government implemented four death penalties on Kurds, all the Kurds closed their shops in Iran as an objection to the practices. Iran feels that it doesn’t seize complete control over [Iran’s] Kurdistan,” said Mahmoud Amir Muqadam, spokesman for the Human Rights Organization of Iran.


There are an estimated 5-7 million Kurds living in Iran. Most of them are Sunnis, an Islamic sect which is not practiced by the Persians who are Shiites.