Executed Prisoner Did Not Know He Would Be Hanged Until He Saw the Gallows

Shirkoo Moarefi

November 6, 2013 – iranhumanrights – A human rights activist with knowledge of the details of the Monday morning execution of Shirkoo Moarefi, a Kurdish political prisoner, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that Moarefi did not know he was to be executed until his final moments.

The source said that following roll call on the evening of Sunday, November 3, the Saghez Prison Intelligence Supervisor, Noroozi, summoned prisoners Shirkoo Moarefi and Motalleb Ahmadian to “Zir-Hasht,” the central sentry of the facility, and told them that they would be punished for smoking in their cells inside the Health Ward. After prison Special Forces members and two prison guards by the names of Seyed Heydar Razavi and Hoosyhar Razmgah put handcuffs and footcuffs on the men, they were transferred to solitary cells, referred to as “The Suite.”

“As the prison Intelligence Supervisor had claimed he was transferring them to The Suite as a punishment for smoking cigarettes, Shirkoo and the other political prisoners at Saghez Prison did not expect his execution and in fact the Intelligence Supervisor’s excuse was to neutralize the other prisoners’ suspicions about the imminent risk of Shirkoo’s execution. Shirkoo Moarefi and Motalleb Ahmadian, who is serving a 30-year sentence, were kept in the same cell until 5:30 a.m. At this time Mr. Noroozi, the Intelligence Supervisor, went to their cell and told Shirkoo that they were going to transfer him to the Sanandaj Central Prison and he had to go with them. Shirkoo, who had grown suspicious of the situation, asked Noroozi whether this was about his execution sentence. But Noroozi told him that it wasn’t anything important and that he was only going to be transferred to the Sanandaj Central Prison as a punishment,” said the source.
“At 6:00 a.m., in the presence of a group from the Intelligence Ministry, the Head Warden Abdinia, and the prison Intelligence Supervisor, Shirkoo was transferred to the waiting room of the visitation hall and in that enclosed space, in the absence of prison staff and only in the presence of the Head Warden, the Intelligence Supervisor and that group, Shirkoo Moarefi’s sentence was enforced. Until the moment he was transferred to the enclosed visitation hall, Shirkoo Moarefi did not know that his death sentence was going to be enforced. He only realized he was about to be hanged when he saw the gallows. Several hours after the execution was carried out, Motalleb Ahmadian was returned to the Health Ward,” said the source.
Ahmad Saeed Sheikhi, one of the lawyers representing Shirkoo Moarefi, a Kurdish prisoner who was executed November 4, confirmed news of his execution and told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, “I learned about my client’s execution from news websites. I tried to contact his family many times and I was finally able to talk to a family member at 4:00 p.m., who confirmed the news and told me that the family were on their way to collect the body.”
Authorities arrested Shirkoo Moarefi, a 33-year-old Kurdish political and civil activist from Baneh, on the Iran-Iraq border while he was attempting to return to Iran from Iraqi Kurdistan in 2008. He was sentenced to death on the charge of “moharebeh” (enmity with God), “membership in Komalah Party,” and “acting against national security.” An appeals court later upheld the sentence and a retrial also confirmed the death sentence for Moarefi.
News websites had previously reported Moarefi’s imminent execution in April 2011, which Ahmad Saeed Sheikhi had denied. In his 2011 interview with the Campaign, Ahmad Saeed Sheikhi had expressed hope that his client’s death sentence would be revoked.

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