Prominent Yarsani activist and former political prisoner Kheyrollah Haghjouyan has released a video strongly criticising the fabrication of false charges and the imposition of a death sentence on Yarsani Kurdish civilian Reza Rasaei, describing the judicial process as unjust.
Rasaei was sentenced to death for “complicity in the murder” of Nader Beyrami, the head of the IRGC’s intelligence service in Sahneh, Kermanshah Province.
Haqhjuoyan, who is a relative of Rasaei and has closely followed his legal ordeal, states in a portion of his video message that: “I see the tragic events of 18 November as a scripted and unjustly organised scenario aimed at controlling society, for purposes of oppression, hostage-taking, arbitrary arrests, and personal or sometimes organisational settling of scores. This is because, instead of dealing with the root of the problem, they extend the branches and leaves of the case as they see fit.”
Haghjouyan added: “On the other hand, the creation of a tense environment by the security forces, who themselves have contributed to the insecurity, together with the manipulation of public opinion, lack of access to the case file, lack of access to legal counsel, ambiguity of circumstances and evidence, an unfair trial process to the extent that false witnesses were sometimes introduced as defendants in the case, and the defendants were influenced and often threatened and incited against each other and coerced into making confessions, and the denial of obvious facts, all hindered the discovery of the truth and resulted in a verdict without clear proof of guilt.”
These developments originated on 18 November 2022, during the 21st-anniversary remembrance of the late Seyed Khalil Alinezhad, a distinguished artist and Yarsani community leader, which evolved into an anti-government protest, influenced by the nationwide demonstrations triggered by the government’s killing of Jina Mahsa Amini.
The military and security forces responded to the people’s slogans with tear gas and gunfire, leading to the arrest of many participants.
Sahneh remained under heightened security for days after the event.
A day later, state news agencies reported that Nader Beyrami, a senior security official in Sahneh, had been killed during the unrest.
On 24 November 2022, the Criminal Investigation Department arrested Rasaei, who had attended the anniversary event for Seyed Khalil Ali-Nezhad, in Shahriar, Tehran Province, and subsequently transferred him to Sahneh.
He was subjected to severe torture while in custody of the Criminal Investigation Department to accept the accusation of “complicity in the murder” of Nader Beyrami.
At the end of his interrogation, Rasaei was transferred to Dizel Abad Prison in Kermanshah. Kermanshah Province.
After a few weeks, he and several other civilians arrested during the anniversary ceremony for Seyyed Khalil Alinezhad were transferred to the Criminal Investigation Department detention centre in Sahneh, where they were held for 21 days.
Rasaei’s court hearings took place over several months in Branch Two of the Criminal Court in Kermanshah.
After the last session on 21 September, his lawyers were informed in writing of the death sentence on 7 October.
It’s important to note that during the trial, Rasaei repeatedly stated that he had been forced to confess through “torture and threats of rape” while in the custody of the Criminal Investigation Department, and denied all the charges against him.
According to a copy of the court document obtained by the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN), the court imposed the death penalty without considering his defence.