In the final days of 2020, Iranian authorities silently executed at least seven prisoners at Mashhad’s Vakil-Abad Prison, in northeastern Iran, and Ahvaz’s Sepidar Prison, in the southwest of the country.
Human rights groups acknowledged that the government simultaneously implemented death penalties for four prisoners in Sepidar Prison on Thursday, December 24. One of the executed prisoners was identified as Jafar Zabi. However, there is no information about the three others.
Execution After Ten Years
In this respect, the human rights association No to Prison – No to Execution revealed shocking details about these executions. “One of the executed prisoners was Jafar Zabi. This prisoner had been detained at the age of 18 under the accusation of murder during a clash with a man named Heydari. After ten years of being held in prison, he was eventually hanged at the age of 27,” a source familiar with the issue told the human rights association.
“A day before the execution, Jafar’s mother had pleaded with the case’s judge to give a one-month deadline to convince the victim’s family to revoke the sentence. However, the judge did not postpone the death penalty, and a day later, Jafar was executed,” the source added.
No Iranian state-run media reflected the news despite the government delivering the corpses to their families.
Execution of Three Political Activists and Prisoners of Conscience in Mashhad
Furthermore, Iranian authorities executed three Sunni prisoners Hamid Rast-Bala, Kabir Sa’adat-Jahani, and Mohammad-Ali Arayesh at Mashhad’s Vakil-Abad Prison on Thursday, December 31. Notably, on the same day, the judiciary implemented the death penalty of a juvenile offender Mohammad Hassan Rezaei at the Rasht Lakan Prison, in the north of Iran.
According to Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) on January 1, the sudden implementation of the execution of these [three] prisoners took place while their families were deprived of the last visit with their loved ones. Previously, on December 30, the prisoners had been transferred to an unknown place.
In 2015, intelligence agents affiliated to the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) had detained Hamid Rast-Bala, Kabir Sa’adat-Jahani, and Mohammad-Ali Arayesh along with Farhad Shakeri, Isa Eid-Mohammadi, Hakim Azim-Gorgij, Taj-Mohammad Khormali, Abdolrahman Gorgij, and Hossein Varasteh-Soleimani.
For 10-12 months, they had been kept in solitary confinement at the detention center of Mashhad’s intelligence department. Later, they were transferred to Vakil-Abad Prison and held there for around four years.
Sources familiar with the issue also acknowledged that the judiciary had deprived these citizens of their chosen lawyer and a fair trial. According to human rights activists, the Iranian government executed more than 250 inmates in 2020, including four juvenile offenders, nine women, and ten political activists and prisoners of conscience. Iran is the world’s record-holder of executions per capita.