Appeal Letter to the High Commissioner on the Imminent Execution of Ramin Hossein Panahai, a Kurdish Political Prisoner in Iran

By Dr Amir Sharifi:

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais Wilson
52 rue des Pâquis
CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland

cedaw@ohchr.org

Dear Mr. Wilson:

Yet another Kurdish human rights activist, Ramin Hossein Panahai is in imminent danger of execution in Iran. According to Hossein Ahmadiniaz, Mr. Panahai’s lawyer the supreme court of Iran has upheld the death sentence rather than advising the proper legal functions and procedures to be followed. Although no documented charges have been brought against Mr. Panahai, he has been kept in solitary confinement and incommunicado, leading to his ongoing hunger strike against the unbearable prison conditions. Mr. Panahi’s father, who had recently been able to speak to his son briefly on the phone, is apprehensive and wants the whole world to know about the imminent danger that his son faces. The terrified parents of Mr. Panahai have announced a sit-in front of the prison and have threatened that if their son is executed, they will also put an end to their own lives. The plight of this family is typical of many Kurdish and other Iranian families whose members are in prison, many of whom are on death row.

The current explosion in imprisonments and criminalization of any form of dissent following recent public protests is not unprecedented; Kurds as an ethnic and religious minority are under double surveillance, scrutiny, cultural policing, militarism, economic depravation and political oppression. Anyone particularly with an ethnic or religious minority background with the slightest discontent and dissent is in danger of imprisonment and unfair trials. Mr. Panahai is a political prisoner of conscience whose demand for basic human rights is being met with greater injustice and gallows in flagrant violations of human rights in a system that stifles any dissent with mass arrests and death penalty, the details of which are well documented in your latest report on the situation of human rights in Iran, issued by the late Ms. Jahangir, Special Rapporteur on Iran.

Mr. Panahai’s lawyer has appealed for a judicial review to override the death penalty decision against his client who has been falsely charged with armed insurrection against the Islamic Republic, a capital offense that is punishable by death. Because of the horror of solitary imprisonment, Mr. Panahai has been on hunger strike since January 27 to protest the prison condition and his conviction both of which are in violation of all international laws and Islamic Republic’s membership in such entities.

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