In the early hours of Monday June 18th, Iranian authorities executed Mohammad Salas, a 50-year-old Sufi man from the Gonabadi Dervishes Order, disregarding grave concerns about the fairness of his rushed trial.
Mr. Salas was accused of driving a bus that hit and killed three police officers in February and was sentenced to death a month later. According to reports, key evidence which could have proven his innocence was rejected.
“By executing Mr. Salas, Iran has displayed its utter disregard for basic standards of a fair trial,” says Firuzeh Mahmoudi, United for Iran’s Executive Director. “This case, as the cases of hundreds of other political prisoners in Iran, demonstrates that Iran’s judiciary does not conform to the basic principles of a justice system,” says Mahmoudi.
Mr. Salas’ case had raised many legal concerns, including reports that he had been tortured, denied access to his attorney of choice and held incommunicado. According to reports, Mr. Salas was not allowed to present eyewitness testimony that he had been arrested prior to the murders and was already in detention when the policemen were killed.
“Unfortunately the miscarriage of justice that Iranian authorities have displayed in this case is seen over and over, as we have documented in our Iran Prison Atlas. It has become evident that Iran’s judiciary serves as a tool to remove, silence, and intimidate dissidents and minorities,” says Mahmoudi.
Iranian authorities buried Mr. Salas’ body before informing his family of his execution. He was buried in Borujerd, hundreds of kilometers away from Tehran where his family lives. Mr. Salas’ family had requested for an autopsy to document the injuries they believed he had incurred while being tortured. By burying Mr. Salas, the authorities have effectively denied the request.
United for Iran opposes the death penalty in all cases regardless of the nature of the crime or defendant’s culpability. We call on Iran to abolish the death penalty and commit itself to fundamental principles of justice.