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Four Iranian Kurds “Forcibly Disappeared” For Seven Months

February 22, 2023
2 min read
Four Iranian Kurds “Forcibly Disappeared” For Seven Months

Amnesty International is urging Iranian authorities to immediately disclose the fate and whereabouts of four Kurdish dissidents who were “forcibly disappeared” seven months ago.

In light of their “arbitrary” detention since July 2022, Pejman Fatehi, Vafa Azarbar, Mohammad (Hazhir) Faramarzi and Mohsen Mazloum should be immediately released, the London-based human rights watchdog said on February 21.

The group said the four men were at grave risk of ill-treatment, including torture, and unfair trials on charges that carry the death penalty.

If charged with a recognizable criminal offence, the suspects must be tried in proceedings compliant with international fair trial standards that exclude forced “confessions.”

Meanwhile, the authorities must grant the prisoners immediate and regular access to their families, lawyers of their choosing and adequate healthcare if needed.

On July 20, Ministry of Intelligence agents arrested the four men near Urumieh, West Azerbaijan province, according to Amnesty International. Three days later, state media reported the arrest of four unnamed individuals accused of being “spies” for Israel and planning “terrorist” attacks inside Iran.

In October and December, state TV aired a video showing the four men “confessing” to planning a bomb attack near the central city of Esfahan, under the instructions of the Israeli intelligence.

Amnesty International said their families and the independent lawyer they retained have tried to ascertain their whereabouts by enquiring in multiple courts and detention centers. But the authorities have refused to give any information, and Ministry of Intelligence agents told them to stop enquiring about their relatives “since it is pointless and they face execution.”

The legal status of the men, including whether they have been charged and/or referred to trial, is unknown, but the accusations made against them in state media represent offences punishable by the death penalty.

Amnesty International said that it is “concerned about their safety and well-being given the widespread and systematic use of torture and other ill-treatment against detainees, in particular during the investigation stage to extract “confessions.”

“Concerns are heightened by the routine imposition of death sentences by Iranian courts after unfair trials in which forced “confessions” are used as evidence, even when they are retracted in court.”

Amnesty International's statement comes amid a brutal crackdown by Iranian security forces on five months of nationwide protests in which hundreds of people were killed and thousands were unlawfully arrested. Following biased trials, the judiciary has handed down stiff sentences, including the death penalty, to protesters.



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1 min read
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