Earlier this week 25 Sunni political prisoners were hanged – dragged from Gohardasht Prison in the city of Karaj, ‘their hands and feet being chained and their mouths taped shut and heads covered with bags,’ in the words of Deprez. The hour of their hanging was no less horrifying than their long and torturous imprisonment. The victims had been arrested between 2009 and 2011 and tortured between 18 to 31 months in solitary cells of Sanandaj Intelligence branch. The inmates were denied access to lawyer, medical treatment, family visits and many other basic human rights.
Fearing popular protests, the Iranian regime prohibited the victims to be buried in their native Kurdistan. Instead, their bodies were buried near Tehran, in Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery, in section 305 without a proper burial service. Among the victims, many were siblings, yet their families were not even allowed to say their final goodbyes, and parents prohibited to see the bodies of their own children. Deprez has strongly condemned this act. ‘Instead of saying goodbye, the families were told to go to the morgue to collect the bodies.’
To honour the victims’ memory, Deprez has listed the names of the 25 victims of the regime on his website. Among the victims are Kaveh Sharifi who was tortured for 27 months and suffered a heart attack. In a horrific display of cruelty, he was brought back from the hospital and hanged only hours later. His brother, Arash Sharifi, had become blind in his left eye due to being deprived of treatment and suffering many during his confinement, was hanged alongside Kaveh.
Deprez stressed the fact that these hangings coincided with the executions of political prisoners in Iran in summer of 1988. A state-sponsored execution of political prisoners across Iran began on 19 July 1988 and lasted for five months, and have been described as a ‘political purge without precedent in modern Iranian history’, killing over 30,000 people according to Iranian opposition groups.
Another victim Shahram Ahmadi who was tortured for 33 months, wrote on July 5, 2016 “I hope that I am tried like a human being, like an accused, in a just court, that I see my lawyer, that he had read my case, that my torturer is not besides my judge.’ Deprez has responded to his helpless call by calling on the UN and EU to take action. “We call on the UN Human Rights Council, the UN Security Council and the EU High Representative Mrs Federica Mogherini to publicly condemn these executions and bring the record of the Iranian regime’s crimes before the International Criminal Court. All economic relations with Iran must be suspended and conditioned to a halt of executions and a clear progress on human rights.’