Khosrow Besharat, a Kurdish prisoner of conscience sentenced to death, had his last meeting with his family on 5 May in Ghezel Hesar prison in Karaj, Alborz province, heightening fears of his imminent execution.

Besharat was transferred to solitary confinement on 1 May at the same times as the execution of his cousin and co-defendant Anvar Khezri.

Five of Besharat’s co-defendants, Ghassem Abasteh, Ayoub Karimi, Davoud Abdollahi, Farhad Salimi, and Anvar Khezri, have been executed in recent months.

The Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) has learned that Besharat’s family, summoned from Mahabad, West Azerbaijan Province, had a brief 20-minute visit with him in Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj.


Besharat was arrested in February 2010 by security forces in Mahabad, West Azerbaijan Province, and taken to the Ministry of Intelligence detention centre in Orumiyeh, West Azerbaijan Province.

In a letter he wrote in 2021, he recounted his one-month detention and torture at the ministry’s detention facility: “It was in January 2010 when I was arrested by the intelligence forces in Mahabad and immediately transferred to the Ministry of Intelligence in Orumiyeh. They subjected me to various forms of torture for a full month in solitary confinement. Often, from midnight until morning, terrifying noises, cries, and screams of someone being tortured filled the air, instilling fear and trembling throughout my body. I could not sleep until morning due to the fear, and this greatly distressed and mentally tortured me. They often tied my hands tightly from behind, causing me to moan in pain. Many times, they hung me from the ceiling for hours with handcuffs, and at other times, they restrained me on a bed, strongly hitting the soles of my feet with electric cables, almost causing my brain to come out of my mouth, and my eyes to detach from their sockets, while my heart felt like it was about to burst.”

In a subsequent part of the letter, he continued: “These tortures continued for three weeks, after which they threatened to arrest my family members. During these tortures and threats, the interrogator wrote down the charges against me, and in that state, I was forced to sign and leave my fingerprints on the same paper. At that time, it felt like I did not exist in this world, and I did not know what I was signing.”

After the end of his interrogation period, the Besharat spent some time in Mahabad, Orumiyeh, and Evin Prison’s Ward 350 before being transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj.

In March 2016, Besharat and his six co-defendants were tried in Branch 28 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran, presided over by Judge Moghiseh, on charges such as “acting against national security”, “propaganda against the state”, “membership in Salafi groups”, and “spreading corruption on earth”.

On 25 May 2016, they were officially informed of the death sentence. After the lawyer objected to the issued verdict, the case was referred to Branch 41 of the Supreme Court, presided over by judge Razini, which overturned the verdict in early 2017 and referred the case to Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran.

After the referral of the case to Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran, presided over by Judge Salavati, in June 2018, the seven prisoners were again sentenced to death on charges of “spreading corruption on earth.”

Following the lawyer’s objection to the issued verdict, the case was referred to Branch 41 of the Supreme Court, and in February 2020, the verdict was upheld with the pressure from the Ministry of Intelligence.

On 3 February 2020, the prisoners’ lawyer, Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei, was officially informed of the final verdict.

Additionally, on 30 June 2018, Besharat was also sentenced to 10 years in prison in a separate case in Branch 12 of the Orumiyeh Appeals Court for “involvement in murder”.

In August 2023, the seven prisoners were transferred to Ghezel Hesar Prison after the closure and evacuation of Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj.