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Iran Tortured Kurdish Prisoners Before Their Execution, Families Say

The families of 25 Kurdish prisoners who were executed by Iran earlier this month told an Iranian human rights organization that their relatives’ bodies bore marks of torture, Al Arabiya reported on Tuesday.

Thirty-six Sunni Kurdish activists who were being held in the political prisoners’ section of Rajai Shahr, a prison located near Tehran, were reportedly taken from their cells on August 2 by members of Iranian intelligence and security forces. The next day, 25 of the men were said to be executed.

Iranian intelligence officials physically abused the men prior to their death, including by breaking their bones, family members told the Defenders of Human Rights Center.

An activist from the Iranian Kurdish region of Sanandaj told the human rights center that the families of the deceased were threatened with arrest by members of Iran’s intelligence services, who warned them not to talk to the media about the torture marks. They were also told not to hold funerals for their executed relatives.

Another group, Human Right Activists News Agency, similarly reported that the condemned were assaulted before their execution.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the United Nations’ high commissioner for human rights, blasted the executions earlier this month, saying, “The application of overly broad and vague criminal charges, coupled with a disdain for the rights of the accused to due process and a fair trial have in these cases led to a grave injustice.”

He also condemned last month’s execution of Hassan Afshar, 19, who was convicted by Iranian authorities of engaging in “forced male-to-male anal intercourse” while still a minor. Afshar claimed that the relations were consensual and that his accuser had engaged in same-sex relations previously. “The execution of juvenile offenders is particularly abhorrent and I urge Iran to respect the strict prohibition under international human rights law against this practice,” Zeid said.

Iran Human Rights reported on Wednesday that Iranian authorities executed three Ahwazi Arabs — Ghais Obidawi, Ahmad Obidawi, and Sajjad Balawi — whom they had accused of murder. Iran Human Rights said the men were “unlawfully arrested and subjected to a nontransparent trial.”

“These three Ahwazi Arab prisoners are victims of the Iranian government’s systematic repression in the ethnic regions of Iran,” said Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, a spokesperson for Iran Human Rights. “We call on the international community to draw more attention and show strong reaction to the arbitrary executions in Iran, especially the executions carried out in the ethnic regions this month.”

The Ahwazi Arabs, like the Kurds, are a persecuted minority in Iran.

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