Shirin Alam Hooli, one of five Kurdish Iranians hanged inside Evin prison on May 9th, was executed away from public view. She had been accused of crimes against the state after a hurried trial with no legal protections. Her body, like those of the four men hanged the same day, was never released to her family for burial.
Now there is concern that another young Kurdish Iranian woman is in danger of a similar, summary execution. Zeinab Jalalian was arrested in 2007. She was accused of belonging to an outlawed Kurdish dissident group and convicted of being an "enemy of God." Her trial reportedly lasted only minutes; no defense lawyer was present and no evidence of guilt was offered. In November 2009, Iran’s Supreme Court upheld her death sentence.
Amnesty International noted that at least 15 other Kurdish Iranians "all political prisoners are also on death row in the province [of Kordestan] and are at risk of execution."
Kurds are an ethnic and religious minority in Iran, and as the U.S. State Department’s most recent human rights report attests, they have been "disproportionately targeted. . . .for arbitrary arrest, prolonged detention and physical abuse."
Iran is a multi-ethnic country whose citizens deserve a government that respects the basic human rights of all its citizens. If Zeinab Jalalian is executed, it will highlight the continued failure of the Islamic Republic of Iran to uphold minimum standards of human rights.