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Kurdish political prisoner sentenced to death in Iran

KURDISH political prisoner Sakir Behroozi has been sentenced to death in Iran, according the Hengaw human-rights organisation, as executions mount in the face of deepening anti-government sentiment.

He was sentenced by a court in Urmia on charges of armed action against the Islamic system and membership of the Komala Party, which is deemed a terrorist organisation by Iran’s clerical regime.

Mr Behroozi was also sentenced to five years in prison in a separate case. He was reportedly prevented from seeing his lawyer.

A statement from Hengaw said the he was detained on March 12 as he returned to Iran after a period serving in the peshmerga militia of the Iranian Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDPI), an exiled party based in northern Iraq.

A close relative said that he was subsequently held in solitary confinement and tortured to confess to the killing of an Iranian village guard, Mamel Mohammadi, who had been killed in a gun battle.

Later the so-called Zagros Eagles, an armed militia linked to the KDPI, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Executions are being used by the Iranian regime to crush dissent in the face of rising anti-government protests.

Twenty-seven-year-old wrestler Navid Akfari was hanged in Shiraz on Saturday despite global outrage at a death sentence imposed after he “confessed” to killing a security guard during a demonstration in 2018. He maintained his innocence until the end, insisting his statement was extracted through torture.

“If I am executed, I want you to know that an innocent person, even though he tried and fought with all his strength to be heard, was executed,” Mr Akfari said in a leaked recording.

According to Amnesty International, 251 people were executed in Iran last year. This year has seen a rise in death sentences for those who took part in anti-government protests that swept Iran in 2018 and 2019.

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