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Iran Executed Another Kurdish Political Prisoner Without Alerting Family nor Lawyers

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Ahmad Saeed Sheikhi, one of the lawyers representing Shirkoo Moarefi, a Kurdish prisoner who was executed November 4, confirmed news of his execution and told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, “I learned about my client’s execution from news websites. I tried to contact his family many times and I was finally able to talk to a family member at 4:00 p.m., who confirmed the news and told me that the family were on their way to collect the body.”

Authorities arrested Shirkoo Moarefi, a 33-year-old Kurdish political and civil activist from Baneh, on the Iran-Iraq border while he was attempting to return to Iran from Iraqi Kurdistan in 2008. He was sentenced to death on the charge of “moharebeh” (enmity with God), “membership in Komalah Party,” and “acting against national security.” An appeals court later upheld the sentence and a retrial also confirmed the death sentence for Moarefi.

News websites had previously reported Moarefi’s imminent execution in April 2011, which Ahmad Saeed Sheikhi had denied. In his 2011 interview with the Campaign, Ahmad Saeed Sheikhi had expressed hope that his client’s death sentence would be revoked.

“According to the law, the authorities have to serve the lawyers with a notice about an impending execution, and the prisoner’s family must also be served with a notice. I am still in shock from having heard news of my client’s execution through the media,” Ahmad Saeed Sheikhi told the Campaign.

“Considering the situation of the case, we expected that Shirkoo would be acquitted of this charge, [enmity with God], and be spared from execution,” said Sheikhi.

Khalil Bahramian, another lawyer representing Shirkoo Moarefi, also told the Campaign that he had not been served with a notice for his client’s execution. “Enforcing the sentence without informing the lawyers was illegal,” Bahramian told the Campaign, adding that so far no judicial authorities have explained the reasons for this action.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran and the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center released a press release in October, stating that since Hassan Rouhani took office the execution statistics have not changed in Iran, and that between January 1 and October 8, 2013 more than 402 individuals were executed in Iran.