Sunni Kurd Faces Imminent Execution for His ActivismPublished by International Liberty on November 21, 2015
Shahram Ahmadi has been sentenced to death in Iran due to his activism as a Sunni Muslim and a Kurd.
Members of ethnic or religious minorities in Iran who engage in criticism of the government are singled out by authorities for particularly harsh treatment, and there is a well-documented history of the Judiciary disproportionately meting out capital punishment to minority activists.
“Making speeches, distributing books and pamphlets, or opposing the government are not capital offenses. Unfortunately Judge Moghisseh said that Shahram’s first two crimes are that he’s a Sunni and a Kurd. Therefore he was presumed guilty from the start,” a source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
The source added that Ahmadi’s lawyer was planning to deliver a petition to halt the death sentence which has been approved by the Supreme Court and could be carried out imminently. His co-defendants, his younger brother Bahram and his friend Asghar Rahimi, were executed in December 2012.
Shahram Ahmadi, 40, was shot and wounded during his arrest by intelligence agents on April 26, 2009, an event that coincided with supreme leader Ali Khamenei’s visit to Sanandaj in Kurdistan Province. He was held in solitary confinement for 34 months in the Intelligence Ministry detention center in Sanandaj and Zanjan and then transferred to Evin and Rajaee Shahr Prisons.
He was sentenced to death for moharebeh (enmity with God) as a member of a Salafist Sunni opposition group by Judge Moghisseh of Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court on October 9, 2012. Even though the death sentence was initially rejected in August 2015 by Branch 31 of the Supreme Court, it was reinstated by Judge Moghisseh, a judge well known for the harsh sentences he hands down in politically motivated cases, and eventually approved by the Supreme Court.
A source told the Campaign that in his youth Ahmadi attended Sunni religious classes in Kurdish mosques with his neighborhood friends and distributed books and CDs to raise awareness about Sunni Islam.
“We want a fair trial in front of a jury. If they act according to the law, Shahram will not be condemned to death,” the source added.