Kurdish Prisoner Reportedly Executed In Iran

Human rights groups say Hayman Mostafaei, a Kurdish prisoner, was executed in the early hours of June 21 at the Sanandaj Central Prison in western Iran.

The execution was reported by the human rights group Hengaw and the Free Workers' Union of Iran on their respective social media accounts. The judiciary of the Islamic republic has yet to release any official statement regarding this matter.

According to the reports, a large crowd gathered outside the Sanandaj Prison late on June 20 in a bid to prevent the execution of the 34-year-old inmate, who had been transferred to solitary confinement a day earlier. The gathering reportedly continued into the early hours of June 21.

"The people of Sanandaj and a large crowd that had travelled from Marivan to Sanandaj gathered in front of City’s Central Prison and did everything they could until the last moment to save Hayman Mostafaei from execution," The Free Workers' Union of Iran said.

"But once again, the agents of death did their job and took another person's life."

Mostafaei was accused of killing a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in 2012. He appeared to be tortured into giving a "confession" before being sentenced to death the following year.

Iran has seen a surge in executions in recent months, a trend that has drawn widespread domestic and international condemnation with critics saying that judgements are rushed through the judiciary while "sham" trials and forced confessions are routine.

Authorities have warned for months since unrest broke out following Mahsa Amini's death in September that they would react harshly to any dissent.

Lawmakers have pushed the judiciary to render the death penalty in trials for those arrested during the protests, which are seen as one of the biggest threats to the Islamic leadership since it took power in 1979.

On June 19, the UN's high commissioner for human rights, Volker Turk, expressed disquiet about the increase in executions in Iran. At the opening of the new session of the Human Rights Council, he stated: "I am concerned about the widespread increase in executions and also the continued discrimination against women and girls in Iran."

Human rights advocacy organizations say that hundreds of people have been executed in Iran in the past six months. Depending on the sources, the number of executions ranges from 290 to over 310, an increase of more than 75 percent compared to the same period last year.

Amnesty International also announced in an annual report on May 16 that the number of drug-related executions in Iran this year has tripled compared to 2022, calling this statistic "shameful."

Human rights activists say authorities in Iran are using the executions to try to "instill fear" in society rather than to combat crime.

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda