Iran’s hangman working overtime, seven Kurds executed

Mohayyedin Ebrahimi, a political prisoner, is among those hanged in Urmia prison. Rights groups slam his trial over alleged links with the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran, noting that the 43-year-old man’s confession was coerced out of him. Since the start of the year, 144 people have been executed.

Tehran (AsiaNews) – Iran’s hangman got extra work last weekend, amid the silence of the international community, executing seven men from the country’s Kurdish minority, including a political prisoner.

In separate statements, two human rights groups, Iran Human Rights (IHR) and Hengaw, reported the executions, providing substantive evidence of the extensive use of capital punishment in the Islamic Republic, in particular since the start of protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman.

Mohayyedin Ebrahimi (pictured) was hanged at dawn last Friday at Urmia prison in north-western Iran. On the same day, five other men were executed in the same facility for drug-related offences.

Ebrahimi, 43, was arrested in 2017 during clashes in which he was shot in the leg. He was sentenced to death for alleged ties to the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran, an outlawed group that has conducted an armed struggle for Kurdish self-determination in the region.

At the time of sentencing, the court found him guilty of armed rebellion, charges that he has always denied. Rights groups said that he worked as a porter carrying goods from Iraq.

For IHR and Hengaw, he was a "political prisoner", forced to confess while in prison to a crime he never committed.

In a statement, Amnesty International condemned the execution which came "after a grossly unfair trial that relied on torture-tainted 'confessions'."

Ebrahimi's family sensed that the execution might be imminent when it was told that he was moving to another prison after the sentence was suspended; however, they were soon disabused after being called to collect the body for burial.

Rights groups say that Iran is intensifying executions at an alarming rate for various offences in  attempt to intimidate protesters and civil society groups so that stop protesting.

According to the IHR, at least 144 people have been executed since the start of 2023, but the numbers could be much higher.

IHR director Mahmood Amiry Moghaddam described those executed "as victims of the government's execution machine, whose purpose is only to intimidate people and prevent protests."

Amnesty International too has accused Iran of a "chilling escalation in the use of the death penalty" with the Kurdish and Baluch ethnic minorities particularly targeted.