Iran: Imminent execution of Kurdish man must be halted

Ahead of the scheduled execution on Thursday of Ramin Hossein Panahi, a 22-year-old man from Iran’s Kurdish minority who was sentenced to death in January for “taking up arms against the state” after a grossly unfair trial and amid serious torture allegations, Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

“Ramin Hossein Panahi’s case has been a breathtaking miscarriage of justice from start to finish. After appearing at his trial reportedly bearing torture marks on his body he was convicted in less than an hour.

A breathtaking miscarriage of justice from start to finish
Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa

“During the investigation period he was denied access to both his lawyer and his family, as well as to any details of the evidence against him. In a complete mockery of the judicial process, intelligence officials also repeatedly pressured him to make a televised ‘confession’ in exchange for the quashing of his death sentence. His refusal to submit to this pressure has seen him languishing in solitary confinement.

“We urge the Iranian authorities not to compound this shocking catalogue of human rights violations by proceeding with what is the ultimate and irreversible denial of human rights. Ramin Hossein Panahi’s death sentence must be quashed now before it’s too late.”

Background

Ramin Hossein Panahi was sentenced to death in January 2018 for “taking up arms against the state” (baqi). His conviction was based upon his membership of the armed Kurdish opposition group Komala, but no evidence linking him to activities involving intentional killing – the required threshold under international law for imposing the death penalty – was presented at his trial.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used by the state to kill the prisoner. The death penalty is a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.