Behrouz Alkhani, a 30 year old political prisoner in Iran, was executed on Tuesday despite international calls for a stay in execution and retrial, following an allegedly unfair trail. The execution came even as Alkhani awaited a Supreme Court appeal.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran has reported that a Kurdish political prisoner was executed by the Iranian government. The NCRI is one of the most prominent and vocal Iranian opposition groups and has repeatedly denounced capital punishment.
Alkhani, who is of Kurdish descent, was first arrested in January of 2010 in Northwestern Iran and held for more than a year without access to either his family or a lawyer. He was convicted by a Revolutionary Court of charges for collaborating with the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan and “enmity against God.” Allegedly, Alkhani participated in the assassination of a local Iranian Prosecutor.
NCRI has also reported that more than 80 protesters gathered outside of central prison of Orumieh, in western Iran, where the execution was scheduled to take place. NCRI claims that the protesters, who were demanding a halt to the execution, were attacked by prison guards and anti-riot police. Many of those gathered were family members of Alkhani and included women and children
Aklhani’s immediate family members were granted a last visit and informed of the impending execution.
Amnesty International also called for a halt to the execution, noting that Alkhani was still awaiting the outcome of his Supreme Court appeal. The organization also argued that Alkhani was given a “grossly unfair” trial, and that he was tortured and poorly treated while in custody.
In a released statement, Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International said, “the Iranian authorities must urgently halt Behrouz Alkhani’s execution. Carrying out a death sentence while a prisoner is awaiting the outcome of his appeal is a serious violation of both Iranian and international law, and is an affront to justice.”
Iran trails only China in terms of the number of people executed per year.