Sep 11, 2018

Iran: Komala Member Ramin Hossein Panahi Wrongly Executed After Unfair Trial

On 8 September 2018, the Islamic Republic of Iran executed three Kurdish activists: Ramin Hossein Panahi and Moradi cousins Zaniar and Loghman. Ramin Panahi was a member of the Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan who had been sentenced to death on 25 October 2017, following a trial which NGOs such as Amnesty International and UNPO decried as being grossly unfair. UNPO strongly condemns the Tehran regime’s blatant disregard for human rights, as well as its systemic persecution of Kurdish people and other minorities.

From his illegal capture by Iranian Revolutionary Guards in June 2017 to his execution, Ramin Panahi’s case was littered with human rights abuses and gross violations of his right to a fair trial. During his arrest he was shot several times, and was taken into custody half an hour after reaching a hospital in Sanandaj, Kurdistan’s provincial capital. He was then tortured severely, which is believed to have resulted in the loss of one of his kidneys. Despite numerous organisations intervening to plead for his case.He never received adequate medical care for his wounds, in clear violation of his right to health and Iran’s own laws.

Following his arrest, Ramin Panahi was held for approximately 124 days (4 months) without his family being notified of his whereabouts or whether he was even still alive, despite 23 requests for information submitted to various departments – again, a violation of his human rights as well as Iran’s laws, which allow for family visits in prison. During his investigation and subsequent trial, Amnesty International reported he was denied access to his lawyer and was convicted in under an hour for “taking up arms against the state”. He was first condemned to death on 25 October 2017, following which UNPO and many other organisations called upon international bodies to pressure the Iranian regime into dismissing the verdict.

Ramin Panahi’s execution was originally scheduled for early 2018; after considerable international pressure, it was postponed several times. In April 2018, however, his appeal was rejected and his death sentence confirmed again even as his lawyer filed a motion for a judicial review, calling the sentence “unjust”. On 31 May 2018, following advocacy work with UNPO, MEP Jytte Guteland demanded Ramin Panahi’s release during the European Parliament Plenary in Strasbourg. Even the EP’s Delegation for Relations with Iran (DIR) applied pressure on Iran to right this miscarriage of justice.

Despite this and many other efforts by the international community, Ramin Panahi was executed on 8 September 2018. It is with great sorrow that UNPO received the news of his death at the hands of the Islamic Republic of Iran. UNPO strongly condemns the Tehran regime’s blatant disregard for human life and international human rights, as well as its systemic persecution of Kurdish people and other minorities. It also calls on the international community to work for the release of Iran’s other political prisoners – and to return Ramin Panahi’s body to his family, which they have been unable to do as the regime wishes to hide evidence of his torture.

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