UN human rights experts on Thursday strongly condemned the execution of political prisoner Heidar Ghorbani, who was tortured and sentenced to death without a lawyer.
Heidar Ghorbani was executed early on December 19 in Sanandaj prison in western Iran’s Kurdistan Province.
Neither his family nor his lawyer had been given prior warning.
Ghorbani’s execution was carried out while his case was still under consideration at the Supreme Court.
The Kurd political prisoner, who was 48, was convicted of the murder of three people linked to Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps.
But he had denied any connection with the killings, and human rights groups said he was a political prisoner.
Ghorbani was also found guilty of being a member of an exiled armed opposition group – the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) – that fights for greater autonomy for Iran’s Kurdish community.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran executed Mr. Ghorbani in secret, on the basis of overbroad provisions, following a deeply flawed process, and while his case was still under consideration by the Supreme Court. In the context of continuing protests and widespread dissatisfaction with the authorities, we are concerned that such an arbitrary execution has been carried out to spread fear,” the experts stated.
“We deeply regret that, despite our multiple interventions on Mr. Ghorbani’s case, the authorities chose to proceed with his execution. This act is yet another sign of clear disregard for their obligations under international human rights law — and for international human rights mechanisms. We call on the Government to halt the imposition and execution of the death penalty.” the experts added.
In September, the United Nations urged Iran not to go ahead with the execution and to repeal Ghorbani’s death sentence.
UN human rights experts said it was “troubling that courts continue to issue death sentences in trials that not only breach international fair trial standards, but even domestic law and due process guarantees”.
Amnesty International had also called on Tehran to “quash his sentence and grant him a fair retrial”.