Kurdish Political Prisoner Heydar Ghorbani at Imminent Risk of Execution After Request for Judicial Review Denied by Supreme Court

Aug. 12, 2021, 8:01 p.m.

Iran Human Rights; August 12, 2021: Kurdish death row political prisoner, Heydar Ghorbani’s request for a judicial review has been rejected by the Supreme Court and his case has instead been sent for implementation.

According to information obtained by Iran Human Rights, Branch 2 of the Supreme Court rejected Heydar Ghorbani’s request for a judicial review according to Article 477 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP), and his case has instead been sent to the Judgement Enforcement for implementation.

Heydar Ghorbani is a Kurdish political prisoner in Sanandaj Central Prison who was sentenced to death on charges of baghy (armed rebellion against the Islamic ruler).

Confirming the news, his lawyer Saleh Nikbakht told IHR: “Heydar Ghorbani’s family went to the Prosecutor General’s office on Wednesday and were told that his case was sent to Kamyaran Court and they in turn told them that the case had been sent to the Judgement Enforcement for implementation.”

“His last request for a retrial was sent to Mr Raeisi (current president and then head of judiciary) and Raeisi had sent it to the Sanandaj Court. Unfortunately, three of the judges presiding rejected his request for a retrial,” he added.

According to the Supreme Court judgement which has been seen by Iran Human Rights, Heydar Ghorbani is the fifth defendant in a five-person case whose main defendants have not yet been arrested. This raises serious concerns that instead of upholding the rule of law and finding evidence to prove Heydar Ghorbani’s guilt, the judiciary is intent on punishing him instead of the main defendants.

His lawyer had previously told IHR that Heydar had “never confessed to being armed or using a weapon and there is no evidence to suggest otherwise, nor has anyone testified against him that he has taken part in any armed actions.”

Heydar’s brother, Hassan Ghorbani told IHR: “Heydar’s request for a judicial review was rejected eight days ago. On Monday, August 9, we went to the Sanandaj Prosecutor General’s office and were told that the request had been denied. This morning we went to Kamyaran and were told that they had sent the case to the Sanandaj Judgement Enforcement and that his sentence would be implemented soon. He is at imminent risk of execution.”

Heydar Ghorbani was born in 1973 and is from the village of Bezush in Kamyaran city. On 11 October 2016, he was arrested by security forces along with Mahmoud Sadeghi while on his way home from work.

Heydar Ghorbani's case was sent to the Kamyaran Court a year after his arrest, but Kamyaran Court referred the case to the Sanandaj Court after recusing themselves from the case. In October 2019, Heydar Ghorbani was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment by Branch One of the Sanandaj Criminal Court on the charge of “complicity in premeditated murder.”

However, he was given the death penalty in a case opened against him by Branch One of the Sanandaj Revolutionary Court for charges of “baghy and membership in the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran.” His sentence was upheld by Branch 27 of the Supreme Court on 5 August 2020 and sent for implementation. Heydar’s request for retrial was rejected within three weeks of submission on September 9 by Branch 9 of the Supreme Court.

In 2020, at least four Kurdish political prisoners, Mostafa Salimi, Hedayat Abdullahpour, Diako Rasoulzadeh and Saber Sheikh-Abdullah, were executed in Iranian prisons.