The Iranian government has announced that it hanged 5 prisoners inside Evin prison on May 9th. At least 4 of them, including 1 woman, were members of Iran's Kurdish minority. Each of the 5 was convicted of the so-called crime of "enmity against God," for allegedly participating in terrorist acts against the state.
Amnesty International condemned the executions, noting that they were carried out without warning, in violation of Iranian law. Malcolm Smart, Amnesty's director for the Middle East and North Africa, said, "The 5 were denied fair trials. Three of the defendants were tortured and two were forced to 'confess' under duress." The New York Times reports that all of the executed prisoners had denied the charges against them in public letters posted on websites.
Among those executed was Farzad Kamangar, a teacher and Kurdish cultural rights defender. The other men were Farzad Vakili, Ali Heydarian and Mehdi Eslamian. The woman was Shirin Alam Hooli. Mr. Kamangar's lawyer, Khalil Bahramian, said that his client had been sentenced to death "on zero evidence" in a trial lasting minutes.
The Iranian government's deteriorating human rights policies affect all Iranians. But ethnic minorities like the Kurds are, as the U.S. State department noted in its latest human rights report, "disproportionately targeted. . . . .for arbitrary arrest, prolonged detention and physical abuse."
The United States government strongly supports all those who peacefully advocate for their universal rights and freedoms. We continue to call on the government of Iran to end the arbitrary imprisonment, torture and abuse of its people, and live up to its international human rights obligations. In particular, we denounce the execution of any person for political beliefs, and urge Iran's leadership to respect the rights of its citizens.