The bodies of prisoners Nasim Namazi, an Azerbaijani-Turkic woman from Orumiyeh, West Azerbaijan Province, and three Kurdish men, Vafa Hanareh, Aram Omari Berdiani, and Rahman Parhazou, have still not been returned to their families a week after they were executed in Orumiyeh Central Prison.
These individuals, convicted of “involvement in intelligence cooperation and espionage for Israel”, were transferred to solitary confinement on 27 December and executed the following day.
Following their transfer to solitary confinement, their families announced that the authorities intended to execute the four prisoners in an alleged act of ‘revenge’ against Israel in retaliation for the assassination of Seyyed Reza Mousavi, a commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Syria.
The Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) has learned that the executions took place under the supervision of a Ministry of Intelligence team in Orumiyeh Central Prison in the late hours of 28 December.
Despite a heightened security presence around the prison, family members and relatives of the prisoners gathered in protest on the same night.
A relative of Berdiani told the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) after the prisoners were transferred to solitary confinement for execution: “Following the confirmation of the sentence by the Supreme Court, their lawyers had submitted a request for a retrial to the Supreme Court and at the same time an application to the Amnesty Commission. While these two applications were under consideration, the prisoners were transferred to solitary confinement in a retaliatory move ordered by the security authorities in Tehran for their execution”.
On 6 February 2023, the four civilians, along with Mansour Rasouli, a former IRGC member, were sentenced to death in a joint trial by Branch Three of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Orumiyeh, presided over by Judge Najafzadeh, on charges of “involvement in intelligence cooperation and espionage for Israel”.
On 26 December 2023, the death sentences of the four prisoners were upheld by Branch 39 of the Supreme Court, while Mansour Rasouli’s sentence was overturned.
Nasim Namazi, 54, Vafa Hanareh, 35, Aram Omari Berdiani, 35, and Rahman Parhazou, 34, along with five other civilians from Orumiyeh, Kamran Hanareh, 31, Fakhraddin Doudkanlou Milani, 26, Ashkan Osmannezhad Gandok, 32, Hassan Omarpour Mavaneh, 28, and Amir Moshtagh Gangachin, 28, were arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence in Orumiyeh over a period of several months, from autumn 2021 to early 2022, on charges of “involvement in intelligence cooperation and espionage for Israel”.
They were subjected to severe physical and psychological torture while held in solitary confinement at the Ministry of Intelligence in Orumiyeh and in Ward 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran.
Mansour Rasouli, 54, was arrested in the spring of 2023 following the publication of a film purporting to show the “interrogation of Mossad agents”.
According to audio files of Aram Omari Berdiani and Vafa Hanareh from Orumiyeh Central Prison, obtained by the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN), these ten individuals were forced to make confessions during their detention in the Ministry of Intelligence’s Orumiyeh Detention Centre through physical torture and threats of imprisonment and rape of their family members.
However, during the court sessions, they denied all the allegations made by the security interrogators and spoke about the torture they were subjected to in detention.
The trial of these ten civilians was held in two separate sessions at Branch Three of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Orumiyeh, presided over by Judge Najafzadeh, and the verdict was issued while some of these individuals were deprived of the right to have legal representation
In March 2023, Aram Omari Berdiani, Rahman Parhazou, Amir Moshtagh Gengachin, Fakhraddin Doudkanlou Milan, and Ashkan Osmannezhad went on a hunger strike in protest against their unjust death sentences and imprisonment.
Images of the verdict issued by the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Orumiyeh in Persian: