Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); April 12, 2023: Six Arab political prisoners and two Afghan nationals have been sentenced to death for security related charges in two cases.
6 Arab political prisoners sentenced to death
According to ISNA, six Arab political prisoners held in Ahvaz Central Prison have been sentenced to death. Ali Mojadam, Mohammadreza Moghadam, Adnan Ghabishavi, Moein Khanfari, Habib Deris and Salem Mousavi were sentenced to death for charges of baghy by the Ahvaz Revolutionary Court on 24 February.
Arrested in Ahvaz, the political prisoners were subjected to torture and ill-treatment in detention and their forced confessions used as proof of guilt. According to official reports, they were forced to admit to membership in Harkat Nezal and participation in the same terrorist attack as Habib Asyoud.
Ali Mojadam and Mohamadreza Moghaddam were charged as “leaders of the group’s dometic branch” and all men were sentence to death for “membership in a baghy group, the armed branch of Harkat Alnezal al-Arabi in Iran with aim of armed rebellion against the Islamic Republic system.
2 Afghan nationals sentenced to death
According to the Judiciary’s Mizan news agency, Afghan nationals Mohammad Ramez Rashidi and Naeim Hashem Ghotali were sentenced to death for charges of efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth), baghy (armed rebellion) and action against national security by Branch One of the Shiraz Revolutionary Court on 15 February.
The two men were tried along with three other Afghan nationals in the “Shahcheragh” case. Mohammad Rahmani was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment, Mostafa Jan Amani to 15 years and Hamid Ala Kaboli to five years.
On 26 October 2022, Iranian state media reported a terrorist attack on a mosque called “Shahcheragh” in Shiraz which they claimed the protests had paved the way for. Shortly after, they claimed ISIS was responsible for the attack. In the published video footage of the attack, one shooter was identified as a lone wolf. According to the authorities, he was injured at the scene and later died of his injuries in hospital. However there are discrepancies about the shooter’s identity and nationality. Days later, official sources reported the arrest of six others. Mohammad Ramez Rashidi’s torture-tainted forced confessions were first aired on 2 November but he could not be identified in any of the videos aired as evidence of his involvement. In a documentary named “For ISIS,” which was aired on 9 December, Mohammad’s forced confessions were aired along with three Tajik nationals, one Uzbek and an Azeri national.
However, when the trial was reported on 15 February, Mohammad Ramez Rashidi was the only defendant from the documentary, and his co-defendants were all Afghan nationals. Of the five, Mohammad and Naeim Hashem Ghotali Hashem received death sentences. They were denied due process and fair trial rights by the Revolutionary Court and their forced confessions used as proof of guilt. There is no information available about the men prior to their arrests.
It is important to note that Afghan nationals constitute the largest group of non-Iranian executions and death row cases in Iranian prisons. In 2021, no execution of Afghan nationals was recorded until September, when five men were executed in the space of 35 days. On 10 October 2021, Iran Human Rights expressed its concern that the Taliban takeover in August had facilitated the execution of Afghan nationals. That number more than tripled in 2022, with 16 Afghan nationals including a juvenile offender and a woman executed.