Hengaw Organization for Human Rights has reported that in 2021, at least 17 Iranian Kurds died in the country’s prison system, 10 of them under torture. Three of the 17, Hengaw said, were political prisoners whose bodies had never been turned over to their families.
Others were in prison on charges including drug trafficking, financial offences and murder. The prisons they died in were located in West Azerbaijan, Kermanshah, Kurdistan and Ilam. Aside from the 10 whose cause of death was given by Hengaw as torture, four reportedly died from medical neglect, one from suicide, one in a fight with other prisoners, and one from unknown causes.
One of the prisoners reported to have died under torture was Shahin Naseri, who was serving time for fraud and had famously witnessed the torture of Navid Afkari. Two others, Asad Ramin and Davoud Rahimi, were injured by the Revolutionary Guards during their arrest and died under torture after they were transferred to Urmia.
In December 2021, two UN independent experts condemned the secret execution of a Kurdish prisoner, Heidar Ghorbani, who was put to death in Sanandaj Central Prison without his family or lawyer being notified. Prison authorities also buried his body in secret. Javaid Rehman, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran, and Morris Tidball-Binz, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, jointly described the act as “yet another sign of clear disregard for their obligations under international human rights law – and for international human rights mechanisms”.