Defend International has been informed by reliable sources about the confirmation in appeal of the death sentence against Mr. Habibollah Latifi who was condemned to death after having been accused of "endangering state security".

Name: Habibollah Latifi

Sex: Male

Age: 29

Authorities: Iranian

Category: Death penalty / Prisoners of conscience / Arbitrary detentions / Fear of torture or ill-treatments / Deterioration of health condition

The case:

According to the information received, on February 18, 2009, the Court of Appeal of Sanandaj confirmed the sentencing to death of Mr. Habibollah Latifi.

Mr. Latifi, a Kurdish student at the University of Eylam, was arrested on October 23, 2007, in the City of Sanandaj. He was detained in unknown location. Eight months later (July 3, 2008), he was sentenced to death by the Revolutionary Court in the City of Sanandaj, convicted of "endangering state security". The proceedings were closed, and his own lawyer was not allowed to attend the hearing. After more than one month the lawyer was informed about the sentence.

While in custody, Mr. Latifi was reportedly subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment such as torturing him in front of other prisoners in order to confess their membership in an opposition party. As Mr. Latifi's health condition was gravely deteriorated due to constant torture, he was transferred to a hospital for a certain period of time. He was returned to the prison in Sanandaj upon release from hospital.

Mr. Latifi is now very weak; he suffers the pain and endless coughing of bronchitis, complains about fever, hard breathing, broken bones, and torture wounds, also in his face.


DI Views & Demands:

Defend International expresses its deepest concern about Mr. Latifi's death sentence, as it is further evidence that Iran will continue its attempt to suppress any open debate and to condemn those to death who fall short of the government's expectations.

Defend International is unconditionally opposed to the death penalty, under all circumstances and in all countries, since it is a violation of the right to life and an extreme form of cruel, inhuman, and degrading punishment. DI is also categorically opposed to torture and other cruel punishments under any condition.

The death sentence against Mr. Habibollah Latifi is a human rights violation against all university students, many of whom are gravely concerned about the safety of Mr. Latifi, and by the procedures of the Revolutionary Court system, whose trails fall far short of international standards for fair trials.

DI strongly urges the Iranian authorities to abolish the death penalty in Iran; to guarantee respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout Iran, and to refrain from any unfair or inhumane practice that might violate international human rights standards. We call upon Iran to ensure respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion. In addition, the international community, namely the EU, should urge the Iranian authorities to "adhere and comply with the relevant international norms and standards" [1].

Defend International will continue to monitor the situation in Iran closely.

International law


The ICCPR states:


Article 7


No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In particular, no one shall be subjected without his free consent to medical or scientific experimentation.

Article 9
1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention...

2. Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him.

3. Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release?

4. Anyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings before a court, in order that that court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of his detention and order his release if the detention is not lawful.

5. Anyone who has been the victim of unlawful arrest or detention shall have an enforceable right to compensation.


Article 10


1. All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.

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