I Never Feared Death: The Plight of Ehsan Fattahian

Nov 14, 20090 comments

“Last words: if the rulers and oppressors think that, with my death, the Kurdish question will go away, they are wrong. My death and the deaths of thousands of others like me will not cure the pain; they will only add to the flames of this fire. There is no doubt that every death is the beginning of a new life.” – Ehsan Fatahian’s Last Words

From The International Campaign for Human Rights

Ehsan Fatahian, 28, is a member of Iran’s Kurdish minority. He was initially arrested and tried in the first branch of the Revolutionary Court of Sanandaj on the charge of conspiring against national security by being a member of an armed opposition group, and he was sentenced to serve a term of 10 years in prison, in exile.

Subsequently, and at variance with Iranian law, the charge of Mohareb, or enmity against God, was added to his indictment, and his sentence was changed to execution.

From The New York Times

He was arrested more than a year ago in the Kurdish city of Kamyaran and received a 10-year prison term. But in an unusual move, an appeals court changed his sentence to death by hanging after the prosecutor general of Kamyaran demanded a tougher punishment against him. At least 13 other Kurdish activists are in prison on death row. “The execution was carried out between 6:30 to 7 a.m. local time this morning,” Mr. Fattahian’s lawyer, Nassrollah Nassri, said in a telephone interview. “His family has been informed to go and bury his body.” The execution appeared to be part of efforts by the government to extinguish opposition in the wake of Iran’s disputed presidential election, which touched off waves of protests after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed an overwhelming victory. His opponents have accused him of rigging the results. Ethnic groups have also stepped up their opposition since the protests broke out. At least four senior officials — the Friday Prayer leader in Sanandaj, the city’s representative to the senior clerical body of the Assembly of Experts, a judge and a member of the city council — have been assassinated in the past months. Last month, an explosion in the southern province of Sistan-Baluchistan killed at least 41 people, including top commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. An ethnic Baluchi opposition group, Jundollah, took responsibility for the bombing. Before his execution, Mr. Fattahian wrote in a letter that the opposition in the Iranian province of Kurdistan would not end with his death, opposition Web sites reported. “My death and the death of thousands of others like me will not solve the issue of Kurdistan; they will only add to the flames of fire,” the letter said. Mr. Fattahian was a member of the Party of Free Life in Kurdistan, a militant group outlawed by Iran. It has often carried out attacks in western Iran against the government. Many Iranians and human rights groups fear that the government could start carrying out more executions to silence the opposition, which has continued to simmer despite the violence directed at it by the government. At least one protester, Muhammad-Reza Ali-Zamani, has been sentenced to death. “The execution today is very alarming,” said Omid Memarian, a consultant at Human Rights Watch, which is based in New York. “We are faced with a new wave of violence by the government which is only comparable to the early days after the revolution.”