The lawyer and relatives of the Kurdish political prisoner Heydar Ghorbani, sentenced to death in Sanandaj prison, have informed the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) that Ghorbani’s execution is likely to be carried out in the coming days.

The Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) calls on activists in human rights organisations, journalists in the mass media, and civilians on social media to work towards preventing Heydar Ghorbani’s execution.

Although the Iranian judicial system, in which such verdicts are handed down unjustly, has repeatedly carried out executions of civilians and activists – regardless of legal documents, international protests, and public pressure – our duty and commitment dictate that in addition to legal action taken within the framework of domestic laws by lawyers and the family, we must continue our efforts through the pressures by human rights organisations and public opinion to repeal these unjust and inhumane sentences.

Verdict ‘on the verge of execution’ – Ghorbani’s lawyer

Recently, Saleh Nikbakht, Ghorbani’s lawyer, expressed concerns about the possible execution of his client. He said: “The Islamic Revolutionary Court of Sanandaj has sentenced Heydar Ghorbani to death on charges of armed insurrection. The condition for committing the crime of armed insurrection is membership in an armed group and the use of weapons against the Islamic Republic [of Iran]. My client has not made any confession in this regard, even in the difficult and painful circumstances he has experienced, and the only evidence to prove this accusation is the claims of the offices of the intelligence ministry in Sanandaj and Kamyaran.”

In recent days, after the Chief Justice of the western Kurdistan province rejected the appeal for the application of Article 477 of the Iranian Islamic Criminal Procedure Code, which would see the judicial review of Ghorbani’s case, concerns have increased over his execution.

“The verdict has now been finalised and is on the verge of execution”, said his lawyer.

On 15 December 2020, Nikbakht told the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA) that, in addition to himself and his client, 50 religious scholars and imams in Kurdistan province appealed for the application of Article 477 of the Iranian Islamic Criminal Procedure Code.

“Fortunately, the appeal was referred from Tehran to the General Court of Kurdistan province, and the Chief Justice of the province is in charge of reviewing the appeal”, he told the ILNA.


Security forces had arrested Heydar Ghorbani, a resident of Kamyaran, in October 2016. They interrogated and tortured him for several months in the detention centre of the Ministry of Intelligence in Sanandaj to make forced confessions.

In March 2018, Iranian state-owned Press TV published the forced confessions.

Additionally, on 7 October 2019, Branch 1 of the Criminal Court of Sanandaj sentenced Ghorbani to 90 years in prison and 200 lashes.

In February 2020, Branch 1 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Sanandaj – presided over by Judge Saeidi – sentenced Ghorbani to death on charges of “armed insurrection” through “membership in the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (KDPI)”.

On 5 August 2020, Branch 27 of the Supreme Court upheld the ruling, and a month later, rejected the prisoner’s appeal for a retrial.

Ghorbani is currently being held in the political ward of Sanandaj Central Prison, and his death sentence is likely to be carried out at any time.