Iran secretly executed Kurdish political prisoner in May: PDKI

The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI), a prominent but outlawed Iranian opposition group, announced that one of its members who had been arrested nearly four years earlier was executed by a firing squad in May.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI), a prominent but outlawed Iranian opposition group, announced that one of its members who had been arrested nearly four years earlier was executed by a firing squad in May.

Tehran still has yet to announce any such execution to the public.

“Hedayat Abdullahpour was sentenced to death by Iranian Supreme Court on October 8, 2018… on charges of affiliation with PDKI and for his political activities,” the party, which fights for Kurdish rights in Iran, said on Wednesday.

According to Amnesty International, Abdollahpour was sentenced to death in 2017 “after a grossly unfair trial in connection with an armed clash between Revolutionary Guards and members of the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran.”

This year, Hedayat Abdullahpour appeared in court one more time in January and was sentenced to death again, according to the PDKI, “despite the fact that his sentence was annulled by the 47th branch of the Iranian Supreme Court.” 

His case was then referred to another court in Urmiyeh which yet again handed him a death sentence at the alleged request of Iranian intelligence services.

“On May 9, 2020, Hedayat Abdullahpour was transferred to an unknown location,” continued the statement. “One inmate confirmed, on condition of anonymity, that Abdullahpour had been asked to step out of the ward and then never returned.”

According to a report of Amnesty International on June 11, Abdullahpour’s family was told by Iranian authorities the day before that he had been executed three weeks earlier in the city of Oshnavieh, but this week’s statement is the first public confirmation by the PDKI.

Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director, said, “If Hedayat Abdollahpour has been executed in secret, his body must be returned to his family immediately and an independent investigation must be conducted into the circumstances surrounding his unlawful execution.” 

“The fact that the Iranian authorities are playing these cruel games with Hedayat Abdollahpour’s family further demonstrates their contempt for human life. By refusing to reveal the truth, they are deliberately causing untold mental anguish and distress to his loved ones.”

Eltahawy concluded, “Iranian authorities have a long record of secretly executing members of ethnic minority groups and burying them in unmarked graves, sometimes refusing to reveal details of deaths for years afterwards.” 

While speaking at an event organized by the Washington Kurdish Institute on Wednesday, the representative to the US of another similarly-named Kurdish opposition group called the  Kurdistan Democratic Party-Iran (KDP-I), said Kurds are disproportionately targeted for execution in Iran.

Kamaran Balnour, the representative, said that, out of 690 executions in Iran in 2019, 45 percent of them (290) were Kurds although the ethnic group only makes up somewhere between 10 and 14 percent of the total population.

PDKI official Arash Salih wrote in a tweet on Wednesday, “Correct me if I am wrong but I think we Kurds are the last nation that faces execution in 21st century for asking for its basic rights.”

On Wednesday, a top Iranian commander claimed that the country’s armed forces had concluded a massive military operation near the country’s western border with the Kurdistan Region and had “cleared” the area of opposition fighters including members of the PDKI. 

Read More: Iran claims it ‘cleared’ border area of Kurdish fighters as violent clashes continue 

Editing by John J. Catherine