Kurdish civilian from Mahabad, West Azerbaijan province
Detention date: 21 January 2010
Charged with: Spreading corruption on earth and complicity in murdering a soldier in Mahabad
Sentence: 10 years in prison and death penalty
Current status: Imprisoned in Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj
Anvar Khezri, a Kurdish Sunni prisoner, was summoned by a phone call to the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Mahabad, in Iran’s northwestern province of West Azerbaijan, on 21 January 2010. He was then detained and taken to the detention centre of the Ministry of Intelligence in Orumiyeh, West Azerbaijan province.
In February 2019, he wrote a letter saying that he had attempted to commit suicide in objection to the physical and mental torture he was subjected to in the period he was interrogated in the detention centre of the Ministry of Intelligence in Orumiyeh.
The letter also pointed out the obstruction of justice by various judicial institutions about him and his co-defendants.
“During my detention, I suffered the most severe physical and mental tortures. That is why after more than nine years, not only I have not recovered, but I also suffer from many physical and mental problems.
Among the injuries inflicted on me are the damages to my head, cerebellum, chest, knees, soles of the feet, and left wrist and recurrent nose breaking, stretching of the muscles of the arteries and shoulder tendons. On the 56th day of my detention and after enduring a lot of torture, I committed suicide and cut the radial artery of my left wrist with a light bulb.”
Eight months later, Khezri was transferred to Evin Prison in Tehran, where he was interrogated in wards 209 and 240 for six months. He was eventually transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj on 13 April 2012.
In March 2016, Branch 28 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Tehran – presided over by Judge Moghiseh – sentenced Khezri and his co-defendants to the death penalty. It charged them with “acting against national security”, “propaganda against the state”, “membership in Salafi groups”, and “spreading corruption on earth” (afsad fil-arz).
The defendants were officially notified of their sentences on 25 May 2016.
Later, they appealed against the ruling which led to the referral of the case to Branch 41 of the Supreme Court, presided over by Judge Razini. The Supreme Court overruled the verdict in 2017 and referred the case to Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court for retrial.
Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Salavati, sentenced Khezri and his six co-defendants to the death penalty in June 2018 on charges of “spreading corruption on earth”.
This time, Branch 41 of the Supreme Court upheld the sentence due to pressures of the Ministry of Intelligence in Orumiyeh. The ruling was officially notified to the defendants’ lawyer Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabai on 3 February 2020.
Khezri and his co-defendants Khosrow Besharat and Kamran Sheikheh were transferred from Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj to Orumiyeh Central Prison in September 2017 for a court hearing. The hearing was held on 30 July 2018 in Branch 12 of the Court of Appeals of Orumiyeh, which sentenced Khezri to 10 years of imprisonment for “complicity in murder”.
After being transferred to Orumiyeh Central Prison in September 2017, Khezri and his co-defendants went on a hunger strike for six days to protest against their imprisonment in a prison ward for ordinary crimes.
They ended their strike with the promise of the prison officials to transfer them to a ward for political prisoners.
Although Khezri and his co-defendants had previously been informed that they would be transferred to Mahabad Prison for trial, they were taken to the detention centre of the intelligence ministry in Shapour in Tehran on 22 April 2019 and returned to Rajai Shahr Prison three days later.