The Execution of Kurdish Political Prisoner, Mansour Arvand
To the UN Secretary General and The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Dear Secretary General:
The Kurdish Human Rights Advocacy Group (KHRAG) and Kurdish community in Southern California vehemently condemn the savage execution of Mansour Arvand, a Kurdish political prisoner by the Islamic Republic of Iran on June 15, 2015. We express our outrage at this criminal act and express our profound condolences to Arvand’s family, friends, and his compatriots.
As you may be aware, the Center for the Kurdistan Human Rights Defense in a press release has announced that the Islamic Republic of Iran has hanged Mansour Arvand, a Kurdish political prisoner. He had reportedly been transferred from the Central Prison of Mahabad to Miandoab where he was executed at dawn. Mansour, a popular wrestler and coach, was 39 years old at the time of his execution.
Mansour’s tragic story is like many other Kurdish political prisoners, some of whom you have mentioned in your latest report of March 2015. He was arbitrarily arrested by the Revolutionary Court of Mahabad at his home in June 2011. In violations of all international laws against arbitrary arrests and unfair trials, he was subjected to brutal tortures for months before being sentenced on religiously invoked charge of Moharebeh ” enmity against God” and “Anti-state propaganda and membership in the Kurdish Democratic Party”. Following the Orumiyeh Central Prison’s hunger strike in Dec 2014, he had been sent to Mahabad Prison. The tortures and prolonged solitary confinement had reportedly left this athletic young man in poor health, inflicted with kidney infection and asthma. According to his brother he was never officially charged with any acts of violence against the regime. Yet he had been sent to numerous notorious prisons including Evin and kept with criminal convicts. When he was last transferred to Miandoab prison to be executed, he was even denied a visit with his family. His family members had been kept in the dark about his whereabouts and his condition. When they desperately pleaded at Uremia prison, they were told, “not to look for Mansour any more
Despite reports of reduction in his initial sentence and international pleas for his life, the Islamic Republic in defiance of all international human rights, with impunity brutally hanged Mansour to death. As you had stated in your March 2015 alarming report about the persistence of human rights violations in Iran and as it is well substantiated in the UN Special Rapporteur, Dr.Ahmed Shaheed’s periodic reports, political violence towards ethnic, religious minorities and women has escalated under the presidency of Rouhani whom many hailed admirably as a “great reformer”. Kurds are under no illusion about the presidency of Hassan Rouhani, who is to be held accountable for this murder. Mansour was neither the first nor the last victim of the theocracy. According to estimates you provided in March 2015, over 500 people had been executed from January to November 2014. During the same period at least 33 members of the Kurdish community had been put on death row, scores of whom were executed; many political prisoners are still in imminent danger of execution.
In expressing our outrage at decades of dictatorship that deem any type of Kurdish political and ethnic expression as a sacrilege or threat to national security, we urge you and the High Commissioner for Human Rights to condemn and hold the Islamic Republic accountable for its savage execution of Mansour Arvand. While we welcome your call for the protection of ethnic and religious minorities, the international community should go beyond the passage of resolutions and find internationally recognized mechanisms to impose concrete and symbolic pressure on the Government of the Islamic Republic to end arbitrary arrests, unfair trials, torture, and executions of political prisoners.
Director of the Kurdish Human Rights Advocacy Group