Teacher and trade union member Farzad Kamangar has endured beatings and threats recently. He could still be executed shortly even though his case is still under review.

PUBLIC

AI Index: MDE 13/176/2008
UPDATE
18 December 2008

Further Information on UA 147/08 (MDE 13/075/2008, 30 May 2008) and follow-up (MDE 13/094/2008, 11 July 2008) - Death penalty / Torture and ill-treatment

IRAN

Members of Kurdish minority:

Farzad Kamangar (alias Siamand) (m), aged 32, teacher, trade unionist

Ali Heydariyan (m)

Farhad Vakili (m)


On 24 November, prison guards entered Farzad Kamangar’s cell in Section 209 of Tehran’s Evin prison. It is reported that the prison guards beat Farzad Kamangar, threatened him with execution, and took him out of the cell, along with some of his personal belongings. Later that day, another prisoner reported seeing him in the prison clinic, apparently unconscious. Farzad Kamangar is now believed to have been returned to his cell.

In Iran, the removal of a detainee from their cell often signals that the person may be executed imminently. Amnesty International is therefore concerned that despite a review of his case being underway, Farzad Kamangar remains at risk of execution.

Farzad Kamangar was arrested by Ministry of Intelligence officials along with two other members of the Kurdish minority, Ali Heydariyan and Farhad Vakili, in Tehran around July 2006. The three men were sentenced to death on 25 February 2008 after being convicted of “moharebeh” (enmity towards God), a charge levelled against those accused of taking up arms against the state, in connection with their alleged membership of the armed group, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Ali Heydariyan and Farhad Vakili also received additional sentences of 10 years’ imprisonment for forging documents. Under Iranian law, they must serve their prison sentences before being executed. The death sentences of all three men were upheld by the Supreme Court. However, Farzad Kamangar's lawyer has submitted his case to a judicial review panel in an effort to have his death sentence overturned. Under Iranian law, death sentences cannot be carried out while under review.

Prior to his trial, Farzad Kamangar was held incommunicado, tortured and otherwise ill-treated, including by being beaten, flogged, and electrocuted. He is now said to suffer from spasms in his arms and legs. He was tried in unfair proceedings, during which his access to his lawyer was restricted. Farzad Kamangar has been prohibited, on several occasions and for prolonged periods of time, from seeing his lawyer and family members.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Kurds, who are one of Iran’s minorities, live mainly in the west and north-west of the country, in the province of Kordestan and neighbouring provinces bordering Kurdish areas of Turkey and Iraq. For many years, some Kurdish political parties such as the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) and Komala – all of which are illegal in Iran – have taken up arms against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Another armed group, the Kurdistan Independent Life Party (PJAK), continues to carry out armed attacks against Iranian security and government. Iran has accused foreign governments of fomenting unrest among the country's ethnic minorities.

The scope of capital crimes in Iran remains extremely broad. Judges have discretionary powers to impose the death penalty for certain offences, including those relating to national security. No other person convicted of membership of the PKK has been sentenced to death.

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