Man, possibly innocent among those executed in Iran

Iran executions
File photo - Iranian regime hangmen preparing noose for a public hanging

Human rights activists in Iran reported that an innocent man is among 12 prisoners executed January 9, at Raja’i Shahr prison in Karaj, Alborz province. All the 12 men had been sentenced to death on murder charges but human rights group say one of them one of them was more likely innocent.

Three of those executed Wednesday were identified as Mohsen Reza’i, Reza Farmanjou, and Barat Ali Rahimi.

Since he was arrested in 2010, Mohsen Reza’i, 34, had gone on hunger strike twice, protesting unfair proceedings and tortures he endured.

friend of Mohsen Rezaie also told the Iran Human Rights Organization that the Assistant Head of the Judiciary had decided to execute Rezaie despite his innocence.

“For reasons unknown to us, Hamid Shahriari, the Assistant Head of the Judiciary had made his decision to execute Mohsen Rezaie. Now that the heads of the Judiciary are changing, despite the fact that Mohsen Rezaie’s sentence was halted, he was executed,” the friend said.

“Mohsen always used to say that they came to his house, killed his wife, stabbed him and then tortured him for one year to force him to confess to his wife’s murder,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mohsen Rezaie’s mother said that her son was supposed to be acquitted. She said that judicial officials had told her that they had found evidence that her son was innocent.

“They transferred Mohsen to solitary confinement on Monday. I approached all relevant institutions but they did not listen to me. I told them that he was supposed to be acquitted and that they had told me themselves that they had found evidence that my son was innocent. I went to the Prosecutors office and they refused to even talk to me,” Mohsen’s mother said.

“On Tuesday, I went to visit my son. They killed my son even though he was innocent. My son asked me during the visit, ‘Mom, how can I prove to them that I didn’t kill anyone?’” she added.

“After his execution, I told the interrogator that he was responsible for my son’s death despite his innocence. They verbally abused me and then detained me. They cuffed me and held me a few hours. I told him that I knew who the real culprits were and that I would give them their address so they could ask them themselves but they told me to get lost,” the grieving mother said adding that she had been detained for four months when her son was initially arrested.

In an audio file from prison Reza’i had said that he was tortured by the police to forcibly confess to murder.

Reza’i further explains how the authorities tortured him by denying him medical treatment.

“I was severely tortured in the year that I was kept in the police station. They pulled out my toe nail which became severely infected because I was kept in solitary confinement. One of my ribs also broke. I had respiratory problems while I was under torture and endured a lot of pain and suffering,” he had said in the audio file.

“The stiches that I had in my gums from the surgery I had a few days prior to my arrest were left there for one year. I pleaded with them to get medical assistance to take out the stiches but they did nothing and after one year, I took out the stiches myself with a plastic spoon. It was severely infected,” he said.

The prisoner also said that he suffered three strokes during his nine years of prison.

Reports indicate that earlier in January, five prisoners were also executed in this prison.

Iran is the world’s leading executioner per capita, with many hangings carried out in public. At least 283 executions including 11 in public were carried out in 2018. The real numbers were likely to be much higher as use of capital punishment in Iran is often shrouded in secrecy.

Most of those executed during the period in question were sentenced to death for smuggling, narcotics, and murder.

International human rights organizations have repeatedly condemned Iran for its high rate of executions.