Iran has executed a Kurdish man convicted of armed rebellion despite international appeals that his life be spared, activists said on December 20.
Heidar Ghorbani was executed early on December 19 in Sanandaj prison in western Iran's Kurdistan Province, the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) and the France-based Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) said, adding that neither his family nor his lawyer had been given prior warning.
Ghorbani's execution was carried out while his case was still under consideration at the Supreme Court.
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One of his relatives told the IHR on December 19, "They took us and showed us a grave that they said is Heidar. They buried him in Beheshte Mohammadi cemetery themselves and didn’t give us his body.”
Actvists say that Ghorbani, who had been jailed since October 2016, was convicted and sentenced to death last year in connection with the killing in 2016 of three men linked to the paramilitary Basij militia.
Ghorbani was found guilty of providing transport and logistical support for the killings, although the court verdict acknowledged he had never been armed.
UN human rights experts had voiced "serious concerns" that Ghorbani did not receive a fair trial and said he was tortured during pretrial detention. Rights group considered him to be a political prisoner.
Both the United Nations and Amnesty International called for his life to be spared, pointing to what Amnesty said had been "numerous violations" in his trial, which it said was "grossly unfair."
Videos posted on social media showed crowds gathering on December 19 in his hometown of Kamyaran in western Iran, chanting, "Martyrs don't die," despite a heavy security presence.
"Heidar Ghorbani was subjected to torture and sentenced to death without due process and any evidence against him," said Iran Human Rights Director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam. "Heidar's death penalty is unlawful even under the Islamic republic's own laws."