Rome, 15 October 2021 – The Italian Federation for Human Rights received worrying information about the case of Mehran Qarehbaghi, a political prisoner who is at risk of execution. Qarehbaghi was born in July 1991, in Sarhad Agha village, Behbahan county, and has a bachelorette’s degree in agriculture. He was arrested for the first time during the January 2018 uprising for participating in the protests and sentenced by a Revolutionary Court to three years in prison, two of which executable, on charges of “insulting Khamenei” and “propagating against the state”. He was arrested again on January 18, 2020 by IRGC Intelligence agents for participating in the November 2019 uprising, charged with having connections with PMOI/MEK (People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran – Mojahedin-e Khalq), and transferred to Behbahan Prison.

On April 25, 2021, a Court in Mahshahr appointed a bail of 3.5 billion tomans (around 72000 euro) for his temporary release. However, when the political prisoner’s family provided the bail, they were told that the bail was not accepted because he was under the care of the Ministry of Intelligence, which had opposed his release.

Mehran Qarehbaghi has been repeatedly threatened by intelligence agents that if he does not fall short of his beliefs, he will be sentenced to death. In late May 2021, Intelligence Ministry agents informed his parents that the court was going to issue a death sentence for their son, and they were told to put pressure on Mehran to repent, remorse, and cooperate with the MOIS.

On July 12, 2021, Mehran was transferred to the Ahvaz Information Detention Center, where he was interrogated and tortured. Qarehbaghi was charged with political activities in favor of the PMOI/MEK inside the prison. During his detention, he was interrogated, beaten, and a new case has been filed against him.

This persecution follows the massacres of November 2019, where more than 1500 demonstrators were shot dead by the repressive forces of the Iranian regime in what we consider amounting to crime against humanity.

The unfair process and the torture against Mehran Qarehbaghi, as well as against all other dissidents unfairly imprisoned in Iran, should cease.    

The Italian Federation for Human Rights calls on the relevant UN Special Rapporteurs, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and on the other relevant international institutions, to take appropriate actions to remove impunity from the perpetrators of the state governed crimes. We call on the UN, and on relevant authorities of its member states to strongly condemn the arbitrary and inhuman detentions and the systematic use of torture against protesters and political dissidents. Human Rights must be at the core of any international community’s relation with the Iranian clerical regime. Having regard to the systematic brutalities and atrocities committed by the Judiciary, the Ministry of Intelligence, and the Iranian regime’s officials, they should be held accountable for their acts, which are contrary to universal human rights law.