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Iran Regime Threatens Political Prisoners with Death

Following the execution of Navid Afkari, Iranian authorities have threatened three death-row political prisoners to death to silence them
Following the execution of Navid Afkari, Iranian authorities have threatened three death-row political prisoners to death to silence them

The Iranian regime has threatened to execute three political prisoners, arrested during the November 2019 uprising, unless they remain silent about the conditions they are subjected to in prison.

Judge Mohammad Bara’e visited the Greater Tehran Penitentiary on Saturday to threaten political prisoners Amir Hossein Moradi, Mohammad Rajabi, and Saied Tamjidi, saying that their death sentences will be carried out unless they keep quiet.

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Despite denials by the judiciary, the trio’s lawyer confirmed on July 10 that their death sentences “were upheld by the Supreme Court despite our appeals”, even though the defence has not been allowed access to the files. Their death sentences were upheld in late June, according to the Hrana website, and their crime was merely taking part in the November 2019 nationwide uprising.

They had initially been sentenced to death by Judge Abolghasem Salavati, who is notorious for issuing death sentences for political prisoners and other dissidents. The US Treasury Department sanctioned him in December 2019 for “censorship or other activities that prohibit, limit, or penalize the exercise of freedom of expression or assembly by citizens of Iran”.

Moradi, Rajabi, and Tamjidi have all been put under torture whilst in custody, they said in their court hearings.

Rajabi, 25, and Tamjidi, 27, said they were kicked, hit with batons, and hung upside down while receiving heavy blows to their legs and feet. Moradi, 25, said that he’d been beaten, subjected to electric shocks and that an interrogator had even stood on his chest. He said that he’d only “confessed” because interrogators promised to get him medical care, although they later refused.

Amnesty International noted that their January trial was “grossly unfair”, citing that the forced confession was used as evidence against the three and that they were denied access to a lawyer during the investigation, which raises concerns about due process.

In February, the judiciary spokesperson accused them of being “riot leaders” who “set fire to banks and petrol stations during the nationwide protests and had filmed their acts and sent the videos to foreign media”, so they were sentenced to between 11 and 16 years in prison and flogging.

Moradi was arrested by state security forces after being identified on CCTV and held in the Ministry of Intelligence & Security (MOIS) detention center in Tehran. Rajabi and Tamjidi were arrested on December 28, 2019.

This threat comes just days after political prisoner Navid Afkari was executed, despite an international campaign, after being brutally tortured and forced to confess to crimes he had not committed.

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