Plea from Death-Row Prisoners in Iran’s Qezel Hesar Prison
Prisoners Will Endure Collective Hunger Strike Each Tuesday
In an urgent, open letter appeal, a group of political and non-political prisoners facing death sentences in Iran’s Qezel Hesar Prison lays bare the harsh reality of their unjust trials, lack of legal representation, and the imminent threat of execution.
Published in the original Persian by Radio Zamaneh on January 28, 2024, and translated into english below by the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), these prisoners disclose the unjust circumstances surrounding their cases. With the specter of execution hanging over them, they announce a collective hunger strike every Tuesday, symbolizing the final day for many of their fellow inmates.
This is a direct call for support, urging the public to become their voice, standing up for the right to live. The plea goes beyond Qezel Hesar, resonating with the desperation of death-row prisoners nationwide, who seek solidarity and intervention from compassionate hearts.
The letter follows unprecedented calls by Iranian civil society to end the death penalty in Iran, as well as dozens of international human rights organizations imploring UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Nada Al-Nashif to postpone her trip to Iran.
More than 834 people were hanged in the Islamic Republic of Iran in 2023 after sham trials where defendants were denied internationally recognized standards of due process and fair trial rights, including the right to a full defense.
In the first month of 2024, at least 54 people have reportedly been put to death in the country
Statement from Political Prisoners on Death Row in Qezel Hesar Prison
(Published by Radio Zamaneh on January 28, 2024)
“Honorable people of Iran,
We, a collective of prisoners facing death sentences, implore your assistance. Some of us are innocent, while others have erred due to misfortune and hardships. Regardless, we have all been denied a fair trial and legal representation. Though we regret our actions, committed during miserable periods in our lives, we do not deserve death, and we were not born as criminals.
As you may know, Ghezel Hesar Prison witnesses weekly executions, leaving us and our families in constant anguish. In Ghezel Hesar, thousands have been sentenced to death, and the cases of hundreds await enforcement. We, including drug offenders, qisas cases, political prisoners, and those of conscience, may face execution in the coming days and weeks.
Starting this week, we will embark on a hunger strike every Tuesday, as it is often the last day our cellmates are alive before being transferred for execution.
We urge you to champion the cause of all death row prisoners, irrespective of their charges, as we have all endured unfair trials. The authorities seek to rob us of our right to life. With your support, perhaps these executions can be halted. Be our voice, and the voice of our families, in any way possible. Death row prisoners extend beyond Ghezel Hesar to others throughout the country seeking your support.
Dear people, hear our cries.
On behalf of a group of death-row prisoners in Qezel Hesar Prison (our names withheld to avoid expedited execution).”