The First Branch of Iran’s Supreme Court has rejected the request for a retrial submitted by the legal team of Reza Rasaei, a Yarsani Kurdish political prisoner sentenced to death and is currently being held in Dizel Abad Prison in Kermanshah, Kermanshah Province.
The Supreme Court, overlooking the existing discrepancies and uncertainties in the case, considered the request for a retrial to be “without legal merit”. In particular, the court did not recognise the newly submitted testimonies claiming Rasaei’s innocence as sufficient grounds for a retrial.
The rejection of the retrial request now raises the possibility of the imminent execution of Rasaei’s death sentence.
Earlier reports by the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN), citing reliable sources, highlighted the active efforts of Bahman Reyhani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Kermanshah, and some other IRGC commanders to speed up the execution of the Kurdish political prisoner.
On 7 October 2023, Branch Two of the Criminal Court in Kermanshah, presided over by Judge Mohammad Rasoul Haghnejati and consultant Amin Mohammadi, sentenced Rasaei to death, payment of blood money, one year in prison, and 74 lashes.
The court charged Rasaei with “involvement in intentional murder” of Nader Beyrami, the head of the Intelligence Organisation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Sahneh, Kermanshah Province, “involvement in the intentional infliction of non-fatal injuries”, “demonstrating strength with a knife” and “disrupting public order by creating chaos and commotion”.
Rasaei was sentenced to death under the Islamic law of qisas, or retribution-in-kind, which gives the victim’s family the right to retaliate.
The death sentence against Rasaei was officially confirmed by Branch 17 of Iran’s Supreme Court on 16 December and on 31 December 2023, the execution order for the Kurdish man was sent to the Enforcement of Judgements Office of the Criminal Court of Kermanshah for implementation.
The developments that led to Rasaei’s death sentence 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 “involvement in the murder” of Nader Beyrami.
According to an informed source, Rasaei was subjected to various forms of torture in the detention centres of the Ministry of Intelligence in Sanandaj and Kermanshah.
These tortures include beatings, electric shock torture, inducing a suffocation sensation by placing a bag over the head, and a torture in which the hands and feet are tied together from behind and the person is hung from the ceiling by chains. As a result of these tortures, Rasaei has suffered fractures in his toes, fingers, hands, and shoulders.
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 2023, his lawyers were informed in writing of the death sentence on 7 October 2023.
It is 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.
In the same case, six other Kurdish civilians, Farhad Beyg-Garousi, Seyyed Rasoul Razavi, Seyyed Masoum Razavi, Armin Haqqi Manjegh Tappeh, Pouria Menati Manjegh Tappeh, and Shoja Menati Manjegh Tappeh, were also sentenced to one year of imprisonment and 74 lashes each on charges of “disrupting public order by creating chaos and commotion”.