UN rights experts urge Iran to annul death sentence for Kurdish prisoner Panahi

“Executing Mr. Panahi, following his torture, and unfair trial would be unconscionable."
author_image Ari Khalidi

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – United Nations human rights rapporteurs on Thursday called on the Islamic Republic of Iran to annul a death sentence against Kurdish prisoner Ramin Hossein Panahi given during a trial that took place before a Revolutionary Court and lasted less than an hour.

They voiced “serious concerns” that Panahi has not received a fair trial and has been mistreated and tortured in detention.

“Executing Mr. Panahi, following his torture, and unfair trial and on the basis of charges that do not meet international standards for the use of death penalty, would be unconscionable,” the experts Agnes Callamard, Dainius Puras, and Nils Melzer said in a joint statement released in Geneva.

“We urge the Government of Iran to annul the death sentence,” they said in the statement on the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights website.

Panahi was wounded last year by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of Iran during a clash with the Komala, an armed Kurdish opposition group.

He was subsequently placed in custody and held in solitary confinement until January this year.

His family received no information about his fate or whereabouts for four months following his arrest.

Panahi’s lawyer has appealed for a judicial review of the capital punishment.

The UN officials said Panahi had suffered human rights violations before and during his trial, including incommunicado detention, torture and ill-treatment, and denial of access to a lawyer and adequate medical care.

The death sentence for Panahi was imposed after judicial proceedings that did “not appear to have fulfilled” the most stringent guarantees of fair trial and due process, which are required under international human rights law, the UN body said.

“We remind Iran that the only thing that distinguishes capital punishment from arbitrary execution is full respect for stringent due process guarantees.”

Members of Panahi’s family, Afshin Hossein Panahi, Ahmad Hossein Panahi, and Zobeyr Hossein Panahi, were also convicted in separate summary trials, and sentenced to long prison terms, in apparent reprisals for their efforts to obtain further information on his situation.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany