Iranian authorities hanged two inmates at dawn on Thursday, January 28. The executed prisoners were Anvar Narouei, an Iranian Baluch, and political prisoner Ali Motiri. They were executed in Isfahan’s Dastgerd Prison, central Iran, and Ahvaz’s Sheiban Prison in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, respectively.
Authorities of #Iran hanged Iranian Baluch activist Anvar Narouei and political prisoner Ali Motiri in Isfahan's Dastgerd Prison and Ahvaz's Sheiban Prison, respectively. @antonioguterres @AgnesCallamard @UNHumanRights @eu_eeas @StateDept pic.twitter.com/RpwnrxjSQ4
— IranNewsUpdate (@IranNewsUpdate1) January 28, 2021
Iranian Authorities Executed Another Inmate on Drug-related Charges
The Iranian government annually executes dozens of citizens, particularly residents of Sistan and Baluchestan province, on drug-related charges. This is while the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) control all of Iran’s crucial borders. In July 2011, then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called IRGC commanders “smuggler brothers.”
A day earlier, authorities called the Naroueis to go to Isfahan’s Dasgerd Prison for the last visit with their loved one. With the execution of Anvar Narouei, the Iranian government has executed at least 17 Baluchi citizens in the past 40 days, according to human rights defenders.
Political Prisoner Hanged
According to the human rights association No to Prison – No to Execution, Iranian authorities executed 30-year-old political prisoner and boxer Ali Motiri in Ahvaz’s Sheiban Prison. On May 7, 2016, the State Security Forces (SSF) raided the house of Motiri’s father and detained Ali.
In February 2017, Branch 1 of Ahvaz’s Criminal Court sentenced Motiri to death on vague charges of Moharebeh [waging war against God] and ‘corruption on earth.’ On July 14, 2019, Branch 33 of the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence, and he was on death row since then.
According to sources familiar with the Motiri case, interrogators had tortured him and two of his co-defendants to confess. Like many inmates, Motiri was deprived of a fair trial. Given security institutions’ pressure, his state-appointed lawyer did not inform the Motiris about their loved one’s proceeding.
“I have nothing to lose. What should I write, and where should I sign for you to execute me?” Motiri said to interrogators, according to one of his cellmates.
On January 4, authorities had transferred this political prisoner to an unidentified place. At the time, rights activists warned about the imminent execution of Ali Motiri. Moreover, on January 23, Motiri, along with four other political prisoners Jasem Heidari, Ali Khasraji, Hossein Seilavi, and Ali Mojaddam, launched a hunger strike, blaming officials for their ill-treatment.
They protested prison guards for forbidding regular visits, misbehaving, and carrying out the death penalty. They had sown their lips as a sign of their determination to achieve their demands.
Iranian Authorities Plan to Hang Another Political Prisoner
Furthermore, human rights activists reported that the authorities had transferred another Iranian Baluch inmate Javid Dehghani Khold to solitary confinement to prepare him for execution. He is held in Zahedan Central Prison in Sistan and Baluchestan province, southeastern Iran.
On January 28, in a tweet, Javid Dehghan’s lawyer Mostafa Nili acknowledged, “The mother of his client has called me, saying, ‘[Javid] was transferred to the prison’s quarantine ward and urged me to go to the prison for the last visit.’”
“Three days ago, we registered an appeal, and I intended to urge the implementation of article 477 [for suspending the death sentence],” the lawyer continued, adding, “It’s never too late for execution, but it’s irreparable if implemented.”
Additionally, the Iranian opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) called on the international community for urgent action to save the life of death-row political prisoner Javid Dehghan Khold.
“Baluch political prisoner Javid Dehghan Khold, who has been in prison for five and a half years, has been transferred to solitary confinement in Zahedan Central Prison for execution. He was arrested in May 2015 and sentenced to death in April 2017 by the court in Zahedan on charges of Moharebeh (waging war on God),” the NCRI stated on January 29.
Iran is the world’s record holder of executions per capita. In 2020, Iranian authorities executed at least 272 inmates, including 13 political activists, eight women, and five juvenile offenders.