A court in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, has sentenced three people to death for the murder of a leader of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (DPIK).
Five people were convicted in late July over the March 2018 assassination of Qader Qaderi, a military commander of the DPIK in western Sulaymaniyah: an area controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
Four of the five convicted, who have not been publicly named, are citizens of the Kurdistan Region and the other is from Iran.
The three sentenced to death confessed to the killing and said they had been paid close to $40,000 each to carry out the shooting near the Iran-Iraq border.
Lawyer have made an appeal to have their conviction upgraded from willful killing to terrorism.
“There was obviously a foreign hand involved, and that is the IRGC and its intelligence,” lawyer Sohrab Rahmati told reporters. “The perpetrators confessed to this and that they had meetings with officials on the border ahead of the assassination.”
The two other codefendants did not plead guilty and under Iraq’s penal code, were sentenced to five years each in prison for withholding information.
A source from the DPIK, who asked not to be named due to not being allowed to share sensitive information with the press, told Avatoday that the first convict sentenced to death was named Mala Osman Hipozi. “His team received 100,000 USD from Revolutionary Guards for this operation,” they added.
Qaderi’s family and lawyers are convinced the IRGC was behind the assassination. But the Erbil court’s verdict does not mention this, stating simply that three people were convicted of first-degree murder.
Over the past three decades the Islamic Republic has been accused of masterminding hundreds of assassinations in Iraqi Kurdistan.
On Wednesday, July 28, a report by Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran identified more than 540 Iranians abroad who are believed to have been murdered or “successfully kidnapped” by the Islamic Republic.