Kurdish political prisoner Nayeb Askari, who was previously sentenced to death in absentia by the Branch Two of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Orumiyeh, West Azerbaijan Province, on charges of “armed insurrection” through membership of the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK), has been sentenced to death again following a retrial request and several in-person court sessions at the same branch.
The Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) has learned that on 16 October, the Enforcement of Judgements Office at Orumiyeh Central Prison summoned Askari and informed him of the sentence, which is the result of a complex and unfair judicial process.
An informed source who spoke to KHRN said: “Since the beginning of the [Iranian] year [on 21 March], the political prisoner has been transferred to the Branch Two of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Orumiyeh for trial in six sessions. Two sessions were cancelled due to the absence of the judge and four sessions were held.”
According to the source, the last session was held on 27 September without the right to legal representation, and Askari was informed of the decision in prison on 16 October.
The source also added: “Another case has been filed against the political prisoner in one of the branches of the criminal court in Orumiyeh, accusing him of ‘involvement in the murder’ of one of the Revolutionary Guards commanders.”
Mostafa Soltani, an IRGC commander in Orumiyeh, had been seriously injured in a confrontation with PJAK members in 2014 and died in March 2021 as a result of complications from COVID-19.
The deceased commander’s family, in collaboration with the IRGC Intelligence Organisation and the Ministry of Intelligence in Orumiyeh, filed a complaint against Askari, alleging his involvement in the incident that led to Soltani’s injuries, which they claimed was the cause of his death six years later.
Askari was arrested in Orumiyeh on 24 March 2021 by the Intelligence Organisation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
He was sent to Orumiyeh Central Prison after spending three months in the detention facility of the IRGC’s intelligence organisation.
Prior to his arrest, Askari lived in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq for several.
In 2018, during his stay in the Kurdistan Region, the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Orumiyeh sentenced him to death in absentia on charges of “enmity against God” (Moharebeh) through “membership” in the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK).
Following the political prisoner’s appeal against the ruling, the verdict was overturned, and the case was referred to Branch Two of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Orumiyeh.
In April 2023, Branch Two of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Orumiyeh sentenced Askari to death payment of a fine of nine billion rials – nearly 18,000 USD – on charges of “enmity against God” (moharebeh) through “membership” of PJAK.
In August 2021, a court sentenced Askari and two other Kurdish political prisoners, Keyhan Mokarram and Nayeb Hajizadeh, to 50 lashes and three months in prison.
The sentence came after the head of Orumiyeh Central Prison filed a complaint, accusing the prisoners of “disrupting the prison order” due to their involvement in a fight between several political prisoners and general crime prisoners.
The case was filed following general crime prisoners’ beating of a Kurdish political prisoner.
On 26 July 2021, Askari went on a 32-day hunger strike to protest against the judicial authorities’ failure to issue an order for transferring him to a hospital outside the prison for treatment.