Kurdish Prisoner, 27, Secretly Executed Despite Judge Agreeing He Was Innocent
Death Sentence Was Result Pressure from Revolutionary Guards
The family of Hedayatollah (Hedayat) Abdollahpour, a 27-year-old Kurdish-Iranian father of two who was on death row based on false charges since 2018, has been informed of his death weeks after he was secretly executed in western Iran, his father informed the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
The execution was carried out despite the fact that one of the judges in the case had earlier told Hedayat’s attorney that he was innocent of any wrongdoing and that the death sentence was a result of pressure from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).
The lawyer explained to CHRI in an earlier interview that the IRGC sought harsh sentences aimed at dissuading locals from any cooperation with Kurdish opposition groups in the area.
Abubakr Abdollahpour said the death certificate stated that his son had died on May 11, 2020, “from being struck by sharp objects.”
“My son’s death certificate, given to us today [June 24],confirms that they executed my son,” Abubakr said. “We have not seen his body, nor his execution or where he has been buried.”
“He was in the central prison in Oroumiyeh [West Azerbaijan Province] but was taken to Oshnavieh [also in West Azerbaijan Province] to enforce his (death) sentence… They say he was executed by a firing squad in the presence of Revolutionary Guard families whose sons were killed in a clash in Oshnavieh.”
An auto mechanic from a village near Oshnavieh, Hedayatollah Abdollahpour was arrested in late June 2016 following a clash between members of the banned, separatist Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (DPIK), based in Northern Iraq, and the IRGC near Oshnavieh.
His lawyer, Hossein Ahmadiniaz, has consistently denied his client’s involvement.
“One of the Supreme Court judges [who nonetheless upheld the death sentence issued against Hedayat in October 2018], explicitly told me and his father that Hedayat was innocent because he had nothing to do with the clash and its aftermath, but that the death sentence was confirmed because of pressure from Iranian military and security authorities in Kurdistan,” Ahmadiniaz toldCHRI.
Hedayat’s father stated: “My son was not present when that clash happened. I swear to God and the Prophet he wasn’t there. Even the Friday prayer leader and the city council and local residents signed statements that he was not involved. But the authorities rejected them and now they say his sentence has been carried out.”
He added: “For several days we had been following up this case at the prosecutor’s office in Oshnavieh with our lawyer. They told us they didn’t know if the IRGC hadtransferred Hedayat to another location. I told them they should let us know if he’s dead or alive. He has a wife and children. His six-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son are grieving for him.
“After a few days, they told us to come to Oroumiyeh’ssentence enforcement office. When I went there with my brother and my other son, they told us, ‘Our condolences. May he rest in peace.’ I said, ‘What has happened?’ They said his sentenced was carried out in Oshnavieh [several weeks] ago.”
Initially, the Supreme Court had struck down the death sentence and ordered a retrial at an unknown date. But on January 18, 2018, Abdollahpour was again condemned to death by Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court in the city of Oroumiyeh for “cooperating with a Kurdish opposition group.” Branch 47 of the Supreme Court upheld the sentence on October 7, 2018.
In an October 2018 interview with CHRI, Ahmadiniaz said, “The pressure [in Iran to punish this group] is so intense… that the judicial process in these cases is unfair and the verdicts are primarily aimed at silencing the people in the region and discouraging them from joining protests and forcing them to take a stronger stand against Kurdish (opposition) groups.”