Human Rights

Iran Executes Second Kurdish Activist this Month Despite International Outcry

Iran hanged Behrouz Alkhani, a 30-year-old Kurdish man accused of “enmity against God” and involvement with the outlawed Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), only weeks after the execution of Kurdish PJAK activist Sirvan Nezhavi on similar charges, Reuters reported yesterday. Alkhani’s sentence was still being appealed at the Supreme Court.

Behrouz Alkhani, 30, was convicted in 2011 of having ties to the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), an outlawed group that seeks self-governance for Iran’s Kurds and has links to Turkey’s militant Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK).

He was also found guilty of being involved in the shooting of a public prosecutor in West Azerbaijan Province in 2010, which the authorities blamed on the PJAK.

Alkhani’s brother said that he had been a member of PJAK but had never taken up arms. Five other Kurds were executed for drug dealing at the same time.

After Sirvan Nezhavi was executed earlier this month, PJAK forces attacked a base of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Amnesty International, which called Alkhani’s trial “grossly unfair,” strongly condemned his execution, the Kurdish news site Rudaw reported:

“Today’s execution of Behrouz Alkhani, who was still waiting for the outcome of a Supreme Court appeal against his sentence, is a vicious act of cruelty by the Iranian authorities and a denigration of both Iranian and international law,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

According to Rudaw, the PJAK blamed the execution on the regime of President Hassan Rouhani.

Persecution of Iranian minorities has continued under Rouhani, who is often described as a moderate, with experts warning that the overall human rights situation in the Islamic Republic is worsening.

In May, Iran rejected United Nations criticism of its use of the death penalty, with an official calling the condemnations a “downright lie.” However, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, noted that 753 people were executed in Iran during Rouhani’s first full year in office, the highest number in a decade.

Iran was recently caught forging documents in an attempt to frame Shaheed for accepting a $1 million bribe from Saudi Arabia.

[Photo: Ali Goli / YouTube ]