Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Court has handed death sentences to four ethnic Baluchis on charges of “baghy,” meaning insurrection against a legitimate imam and the Islamic ruler of the country.

The individuals, identified as Eido Shahbakhsh, Abdul-Ghani Shahbakhsh, Abdul-Rahim Qanbarzehi Gorgij, and Suleiman Shahbakhsh, were implicated in what the court describes as “forming anti-revolutionary groups and being members of said groups.”

The verdicts were issued by Branch 28 of the court, under the presidency of Mohammad Reza Amouzad Khalili, according to reports from Hengaw, a group that closely tracks human rights violations in Iran. The four men are currently being held at the Qezelhesar prison in Karaj.

The case has drawn widespread attention due to the complex history of the accused; notably, the first two defendants were previously acquitted and released in 2016 by Branch 1 of the Zahedan Islamic Revolutionary Court on identical charges, only to be rearrested shortly thereafter. Zahedan is the capital of of Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan Province.

Further controversy surrounds the case of Suleiman Shahbakhsh, who, according to the legal analysis website Dadban, is being held responsible for an incident dating back to when he was 12 years old. Shahbakhsh, along with Abdul-Rahim Kanbarzehi Gorgij, was apprehended in 2016 and accused of the murder of a Basij militia base head in Chah-Zard city.

The charge of “baghy” in the Islamic republic’s legal system is defined as an “armed uprising against the regime,” a crime that typically carries the death penalty.

In a related development, human rights organizations also highlighted the case of Pakshan Azizi, a Kurdish journalist and former political prisoner, who now faces the same charge of “baghy.” Additionally, the Free Union of Iranian Workers reported that Shahab Naderi, a political prisoner, has been sentenced to death on similar grounds.

The cases have reignited debate over the application of the death penalty for political crimes in Iran and highlight concerns regarding the country’s human rights record and its widespread use of the death penalty.

The rate of executions in Iran has been rising sharply, particularly in the wake of the widespread protests triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody in September 2022 after she was arrested for allegedly wearing a head scarf improperly.

Iran Human Rights said in 2023 that more than 700 people were executed in Iran.

Source » rferl