Members of Sunni Religious Group Receive Heavy Prison Sentences
Several Sunni Kurds awaiting trial at Evin and Rajaee Shahr prisons for a number of years were put on trial on September 29, a local source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. The Sunni Kurds were denied the option to choose a lawyer, and Judge Moghisseh of Branch 28 of Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced all of them to long prison terms.
The source told the Campaign, “Karikar Vali Hassan, 18, a resident of Javanrood township in Kermanshah Province, was sentenced to 15 years in prison, and [Nejad] Omar Karim, also of Javanrood, was sentenced to 8 years in prison, and Mohiaddin Aziz, a resident of Sanandaj, was sentenced to 8 years in prison.” According to the source, Karikar Vali was only 15 at the time of his arrest; three years after his imprisonment in Evin and Rajaee Shahr prisons without access to a lawyer, Branch 28 sentenced him to 15 years in prison. Nejad Omar Karim and Karikar Vali Hassan are relatives.
The three prisoners were arrested along with a large group of other Kurdish Sunni religious group members over the past three years in Javanrood and Sanandaj, transferred to Ward 209 of Evin Prison, and charged with proselytizing for extremist religious groups and for their membership in those groups, the local source told the Campaign. “These individuals have been kept in a group in a state of limbo inside Evin and Rajaee Shahr prisons. Most of these prisoners were Sunni religious group members in the Kurdish, Sistani, and Baluch areas, and are kept inside Ward 4, Hall 10, or Rajaee Shahr Prison in Karaj. Most of them have been waiting for their trial for the past several years,” the source said.
“After the US attack on Iraq, some members of Jond Islam, an extremist Sunni group [also known as Salafist groups] who live in the border area of Iraqi Kurdistan and Iran, fled to Iran and were able to recruit several individuals in this region due to the relative freedom their members have to proselytize. In their early activities, the group’s main objective was to perform jihad against the US, but during the past few years, members of the group have carried out operations against Islamic Republic forces. Their most outstanding activities over the past several years were assassinations of several Sunni clerics in Sanandaj in 2009, where Islamic Republic intelligence organizations referred to the perpetrators of the terrorist acts as ‘Salafist groups,’” the source told the Campaign.
Earlier, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran published for the first time the names of 10 death-row inmates inside Ward 4, Hall 10 of Rajaee Shahr Prison, who had been sentenced to death for membership in extremist religious groups.