More than 100 Kurdish political and civil rights activists in various cities of Iran have called on judicial officials in an open letter to overturn Kurdish political prisoner Heydar Ghorbani’s death sentence.

A part of the statement, which they provided to the Kurdistan Human Rights Network along with the names of the signatories for publication, reads: “After the Supreme Court of the country rejected Heydar Ghorbani’s retrial, it is feared that his sentence could be executed any minute. During these years, the family of this prisoner has both endured the imprisonment of the head of the family and many difficulties and hardships.”

This statement emphasised the importance of the right to life and said: “The right to life is the most fundamental and natural right of every human being, which has a high status in all beliefs and schools. The right to life is a blessing that should not be compromised in any way. In our belief, there is no place either for violence and taking human lives or for sanctifying and promoting violence. Our society needs tolerance, peace, and respect for each other’s rights more than anything else in these difficult days.”

The signatories, who include political, civil rights, human rights, and media figures, wrote at the end of the statement: “We, a number of civil and human rights activists, call on all humanitarians and believers in it, as well as the judicial authorities, not to take the opportunity of life from Heydar Ghorbani, and to greet life by lifting his death sentence, and to relieve his suffering family from these suffocating moments. That is our hope.”

Previously, more than a thousand Kurdish civilians in the cities of Kamyaran, Marivan, Sanandaj, and Kermanshah, as well as 50 Sunni clerics and imams of Kurdistan, signed a petition and a letter to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, calling for the death sentence of Heydar Ghorbani to be revoked.

On 15 December 2020, Mr 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, which would result in the judicial review of Ghorbani’s case.

“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.

However, 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, concerns have increased recently over his execution.

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

KHRN’s call for action against Ghorbani’s execution

In a statement published on 26 August, the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) called upon activists in human rights organisations, journalists in the mass media, and civilians on social media platforms to do their best to prevent the political prisoner’s execution.

The statement said: “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.”


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’s lawyer, Mr Nikbakht, has denied the accusations against his client and said: “The Islamic Revolutionary Court of Sanandaj has sentenced Heydar Ghorbani to death on charges of armed insurrection”, said Mr Nikbakht, adding that “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.”

List of signatories:

Ebrahim Ahmadpour, Omid Rashidi, Jalal Ghavami, Ahmad Zeinivand Ilami, Ehsan Nikpei, Iraj Ghaderi, Esmaeil Seyed Mahmoudian, Arsalan Pezeshki, Iraj Ebadi, Esmaeil Amini, Ahmad Iran-Panah, Edris Menbari, Azad Namaki, Ako Kordnasab, Ahmad Pezeshki, Ebrahim Khanizad, Omid Ghaderi, Erivan Shakeri, Omid Mostafapour, Ardeshir Gholamipour, Esmaeil Amini, Behzad Pezeshki, Bakr Pezeshki, Rahman Ahmadi, Dler Eskandari, Reza Shajiei, Rashid Ilkhanizadeh, Ramin Salehi, Rafigh Pezeshki, Ronak Zeinivand, Zara Mohammadi, Zahed Nik-Ravesh, Raouf Karimi, Kak Hassan Amini, Hamed Farazi, Hassel Daseh, Hamid Reza Samadi, Hassan Karimi, Hamed Mohammadi, Jamal Morovati, Jalal Khoda-Moradi, Khaled Tavakkoli, Jabbar Dastbaz, Jamal Qadernezhad, Jamal Daneshmand, Saeid Najari (Aso), Saeid Zaki , Siavash Hayati, Salam Pezeshki, Seyed Amin Abbasi, Soma Pourmohammadi, Seyed Abdollah Saadei, Seyed Mohammad Hassanzadeh, Sivan Ebrahimi, Somayeh Rahimi, Salam Pezeshki, Seyed Alireza Jamshidi, Erfan Hosseini, Shahram Safari, Shwaneh Tajgardoun, Shahed Amini, Shokrollah Pezeshki, Shiva Ayazi, Salah Pezeshki, Sadr Keshavarz, Osman Nouri, Abdollah Sohrabi, Ali Valaei, Ali Delaviz, Erfan Hosseini, Farhad Aminpour, Farhad Hadi, Farid Nik-Nafas, Farhad Pezeshki, Fateh Badparva, Farzad Pezeshki, Farid Safari, Sedigh Rostami, Sabah Dousti, Keyvan Kamangar-Nasab, Kourosh Amini, Kamran Pezeshki, Goljahan Jahangiri, Mohsen Razavi, Majed Mardoukh Rouhani, Masoud Kordpour, Mehdi Sattari, Mahmoud Mahmoudi, Mansour Parandi, Mahnaz Aghaei, Mahmoud Mobarakshahi, Mohsen Moradi, Masoud Cheraghi, Mohsen Kaviani, Moslem Saeidpour, Mohammad Bikas, Mohammad Bagher Piri, Yousef Haji Khosh, Yahya Sohrabi, Noushin Mohammadi, Musa Omidi, Mohammad Pezeshki, Mohammad Saleh Abbasi, Noshad Taheri , Hoshyar Babaei, Hashem Hossein-Panahi, Hoshyar Mirzaei, Hadi Mohammadian, Hemn Rahimi, Vafa Pezeshki, Loghman Pezeshki, Najaf Mehdipour