Execution of Iranian Political Activist Sparks Outrage in Iran

On June 1, 2014, in defiance of international appeals, the Iranian regime proceeded with the execution of political prisoner Gholamreza Khosravi Savadjani. The Prosecutor’s Office of the Iranian regime declared that Khosravi was guilty of moharebeh (enmity against God), which boils down to having provided information and financial support for the People’s Mojahedin Organization (PMOI/MEK), the main opposition to the clerical regime ruling Iran.

Khosravi, 49, who was a professional welder from Abadan (Southern Iran), had spent a total of 12 years in Iran’s prisons under harsh conditions, including 40 months in solitary confinement and constant torture. During the 80s, he had spent five years in Kazeroun prison for supporting the PMOI. In 2007, he was arrested again and sentenced to six years in prison. After serving four years of his time, the Iranian regime’s judiciary charged him with moharebeh and sentenced him to death for making financial contribution to the PMOI (MEK).

Khosravi was among the prisoners of Evin prison’s Ward 350, who were brutally battered by regime forces on April 17, 2014. He was sent to solitary confinement, where he was kept for 23 days while being denied medical treatment for the many wounds he had suffered. On May 28, he was suddenly transferred to the quarantine section, where death row prisoners are kept before execution. On the eve of his execution he was again taken to solitary confinement in Gohardasht prison.

The Iranian resistance had issued several warnings of the imminent execution of Mr. Khosravi and had called on the international community to take urgent and effective action to stop the sentence from being carried out. On the night before Khosravi’s execution, Amnesty international called for the immediate halt of sentence, and stipulated that Khosravi “was sentenced to death in an unfair trial on the charge of ‘enmity against God’ (moharebeh).”

Mrs. Baygom Yadi, Khosravi’s mother, had sent a letter to Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights situation in Iran, and urged him to help to save her son, who was sentenced to death for making a mere monetary donation to an opposition TV channel.

On September 12, 2013, in an interview secretly smuggled out of the prison, Khosravi had said that he had been condemned to death for refusing to participate in a TV interview to speak out against the PMOI and also for revealing information about the human rights violations of the intelligence ministry.

In fear of potential protests over the execution of Gholamreza Khosravi, regime officials banned Khosravi’s family from holding a ceremony in his memory. Khosravi’s remains were buried under heavy restrictions and with the presence of very few relatives. Iranian intelligence agents have allegedly threatened to arrest Khosravi’s family members in case reports of the burial leak to foreign and social media.

The execution of Gholamreza Khosravi sparked a wave of outrage inside Iran and abroad.

Khosravi’s persistence and his stalwart defense of freedom, and his refusal to give in to the will of the religious dictatorship ruling Iran has turned him into a national hero. His death has sparked fresh momentum and energy in other prisoners trapped the dungeons of the Iranian regime and has given courage to the masses to express their protest against the mullahs’ rule.

Furthermore, in order to prevent the eruption of another prison protest, regime officials transferred seven of the Khosravi’s former cellmates in Evin’s Ward 350 to Gohardasht prison within hours of his execution.

Residents of Savadjan village of Saman Township in Chahar Mahal and Bakhtiari Province, the hometown of Khosravi, gathered in front of the shrine of Seyed Soleiman in Savadjan and marched to the mosque of the village to participate in his memorial ceremony. In the march, the participants chanted slogans such as “Precious PMOI member, your martyrdom be blessed” and “Khosravi, Khosravi, may your soul be joyful.”

On June 3, two days after the execution of Khosravi, Marzieh Afkham, the spokesperson for the Iranian regime’s foreign ministry, said, “We have constantly asked the Iraqi government to hand over PMOI members to Iran. This issue is also being pursued through international bodies in order to provide the conditions for their extradition.”

The repetitive requests by the Iranian regime’s head of judiciary, justice minister and foreign minister for the extradition of Iranian refugees in Camp Liberty, who are under “international protection,” betrays the Iranian regime’s increasing fear from the social rage and dissatisfaction and the role that the organized resistance movement of the Iranian people plays at home and abroad.

The Iranian resistance condemned Khosravi’s execution and stipulated that the regime had murdered him in retaliation to the resistance of Evin’s Ward 350 inmates. Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, said, “The execution of Gholamreza is a marker of ‘moderation’ in the regime of the mullahs that through executing and slaughtering of PMOI (MEK) members in Ashraf, Camp Liberty, Evin, Gohardasht and other prisons is futilely attempting to keep its devastated and crumbling regime standing.”

Dr. Shaheed called the execution a “flagrant violation of international law” and expressed alarm over “the widening scope of executions in Iran, including juvenile executions.”

The French Committee for a Democratic Iran (CFID), which is constituted of French lawmakers, condemned the hanging of Gholamreza Khosravi in the strongest terms and called on the French government and the NGOs “to react vigorously to condemn this criminal act under the Government Rouhani.”

Despite the fact that Western countries consider Hassan Rouhani, the new president of the Iranian regime, as a moderate figure, during his presidency, the number of executions in Iran has increased sharply. Human rights activists blame the West for deliberately ignoring the blatant violation of human rights in Iran for the sake of the nuclear talks with the Iranian regime.

 

Shahriar Kia is a press spokesman for an Iranian opposition  group housed at Camp Liberty in Iraq. Kia says the group, the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI, also known as MEK), advocates for a democratic, secular Iran with separation of church and state and gender quality that is nuclear-free. He graduated from North Texas University and currently resides in Iraq. His Twitter handle is @shahriarkia 

You can read Kia’s previous interview with the Clarion Project here