What You Need to Know:
This morning, Farhad Salimi, a Kurdish political prisoner held for 14 years by the Iranian regime was executed in Ghezel Hesar Prison, situated in Iran’s Alborz province.
Salimi was arrested by security forces in his home town of Saqqez, Kurdistan province in December 2010 and Initially held without charge. According to Human Rights Group Amnesty International, Salimi and his co-accused, Kamran Sheikheh, Khosrow Besharat and Anvar Khezri, were tortured by Iranian authorities in order to force confessions.
In March 2016, Salimi, Sheikheh, Khosrow and Khezri were charged in the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran for propaganda against the state, acting against national security, membership in Salafi groups, and spreading corruption on earth.
In May 2016, the group was informed that they had been sentenced to death. The issue was raised by the group’s lawyer, and the verdict overturned in 2017. The case was then again taken to the Islamic Revolutionary Court and the death sentences reinstated.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has executed political prisoner Farhad Salimi, a Sunni Kurdish man who was imprisoned for 14 years.
He was sentenced to death along with three other Kurdish political prisoners for “corruption on earth.”
Salimi and the other Kurdish men, Anwar… pic.twitter.com/IDsJrooJu2
— Yashar Ali ? (@yashar) January 23, 2024
A 2008 Amnesty International report claims, “Kurds in Iran have long suffered deep-rooted discrimination. Their social, political and cultural rights have been repressed, as have their economic aspirations. Kurdish regions have been economically neglected, resulting in entrenched poverty.
Forced evictions and destruction of homes have left Kurds with restricted access to adequate housing. Parents are banned from registering their babies with certain Kurdish names. The use of the Kurdish language in education is frequently thwarted. Religious minorities that are mainly or partially Kurdish are targeted by measures designed to stigmatize and isolate them.
The discriminatory gozinesh system – a selection procedure that requires prospective state officials and employees to demonstrate allegiance to Islam and the Islamic Republic of Iran – denies Kurds equality in employment and political participation.”
Furthermore, in a 2019 letter penned by Salimi to Ebrahim Raisi, Head of judiciary at the time, he enquired about the length of his detention as well as brought light to the torture he endured in the pursuit of a false confession.
The letter reads:
“I am Farhad Salimi, the son of Majid. I am a Sunni cleric from Saqqez, Kurdistan Province. I was arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence on 29 January 2010, and have been detained ever since without any clarification of the charges against me. During these 10 years of unlawful detention, I have not been informed of any extension of my detention, and at no stage of the investigation and trial process have they been able to prove any of the charges against me on the basis of the fourfold evidence. According to Article 32 of the Constitution, citizens have the right to be free from arbitrary arrest and search without a warrant. All threats, pressure and restrictions on the families and relatives of those accused and detained are prohibited.
Are not a decade of changing places of detention and prisons, unusual, illegal and illogical extensions of the trial, pressure to dismiss my lawyer on groundless pretexts, coercion to obtain false confessions, making the decision on my fate dependent on the acceptance of false and groundless accusations, the ten years of anticipation of my family, the pain of losing a father and close relatives during the period of detention, the growth of my children in my absence, building their future in dreams and wishes and longing for it, the tears and sorrow of my mother, wife and children for a decade, examples of psychological and mental torture for forced confessions under pressure?”
So, What Now?:
Iran has one of the highest rates of prisoner executions in the world. According to Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRANA), at least 746 prisoners were executed in 2023 alone.
Likewise, according to human rights watch 11 more political prisoners are at risk of imminent execution, with three of those being Salimi’s co-accused Kamran Sheikheh, Khosrow Besharat and Anvar Khezri.