Prepared for Iran Roundtable
Iranian regime authorities in Iran hanged 16 prisoners Saturday in response to deadly overnight clashes between Baluchi armed groups and border security forces in southeast Iran province of Baluchistan, the semi-official Fars news agency, affiliated to country’s Revolutionary Guards reported.
According to Iran’s official news agency IRNA 14 Iranian border guards were killed in Baluchistan region between Iran and Pakistan border. Six more were injured and three taken hostage, the news agency added. It earlier said as many as 17 security personnel had died, CNN reported.
The execution of Baluchi prisoners, suspected of having ties to Baluchi insurgent groups, was carried out hours after the clashes between the border security forces and the insurgent group. “We had issued warnings previously that bandits and anti-Iran group members who commit acts causing damage to innocent people or security and military personnel will face reciprocal action by us,” the province’s attorney-general is quoted as saying.
“This morning, in retaliation for the martyrdom of border guards at the town of Saravan, we hanged 16 members of these anti-Iran groups. The judiciary will absolutely not tolerate such actions by these groups.” Mohammad Marzieh said.
Elsewhere in the country, on October 10, five members of the elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) were killed in an ambush by an unknown armed group outside the Kurdish city of Baneh.
In retaliation to this attack, on Friday October 25, the Kurdistan Division of the IRGC killed 3 Kurdish fighters and arrested 3 more, the IRGC’s website claimed. No Kurdish group has claimed responsibility for the attack, and regime sources have yet to disclose the identity or the affiliation of those killed.
Along with the mass execution of prisoners in Baluchistan province following the deadly raid, early Saturday, October 26, a number of Kurdish political prisoners were also executed in the city of Orumieh in Western Iran, in an apparent retaliation to the clashes in Kurdistan as well.
Habibullah Golparipour and Reza Esmaili –many put the number of Kurds executed more than two – were hanged in the central prison of Orumieh. Free Life Party of Kurdistan or PJAK, the Iranian Kurdistan branch of PKK, warned in a statement that the execution of its members could jeopardize the ceasefire between the two since 2011.
The recent wave of execution of political prisoners comes after deadly clashes between the IRGC forces and various armed groups in Baluchistan and Kurdistan. Regime officials have publicly claimed that the executions were in direct retaliation to the attacks and the killing of their guardsmen.
The Kurdish political prisoners were tried unjustly, awaiting their execution, and the recent events in Kurdistan seems to have moved up their execution orders; however, it appears that the Baluchi political prisoners had not even had a trial when their executions were carried out.
The prisoners have been held hostage by the government and the mass executions are not only in contrary to international norms, but also puts at risk the lives of IRGC guardsmen, apparently 4, still held hostage following the ambush.
The IRGC forces are known for their brutalities against internal dissent and some days ago, IRGC’s chief Mohammad Ali Jafari said Iran enjoys the highest level of security among world countries.
On March 15, 2009, Habibollah Golparipour was sentenced to death by the first branch of the Mahabad Revolutionary Court. The trial lasted five minutes. He was sentenced to death on charges of “Moharebeh” (Enmity against the God) and membership in a Kurdish opposition party, PDKI website reported.
The execution in Orumieh seems to have been in group as well, as eye-witness reports from the prison indicate that the inmates on death sang the Kurdish national anthem, ‘Ey Raqib’ loud, Kurdpa News Agency reported.
Executions in Iran are common and according to a recent UN Special Rapporteur report on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, more than 700 prisoners were executed in Iran since 2012.
Tit-for-tat Mass executions are also common in Iran and in 1988 more than five thousands political prisoners were executed in retaliation for the “Eternal Light” invasion of the armed opposition group, Mojahedin Khalq Organisation – the MKO.
Sharif Behruz is the Co-founder and President of Iran Roundtable.