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UN rights expert urges Iran to halt imminent execution of Ramin Hossein Panahi

GENEVA (2 May 2018) – A UN human rights expert has urgently called on Iran to halt the death sentence against Iranian Kurd Ramin Hossein Panahi amid reports he will be executed on Thursday.

“The Iranian authorities must immediately halt the execution of Mr. Panahi and annul the death sentence against him,” saidAgnes Callamard, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

Last month, UN human rights experts urged authorities to annul the death sentence, citing concerns about allegations Mr. Panahi had not received a fair trial and that he had been mistreated and tortured in detention. “I deeply regret that the authorities disregarded earlier calls to annul Mr. Panahi’s death sentence, and to afford him a fair trial,” Callamard said.

The Special Rapporteur noted that the only thing that distinguishes capital punishment from arbitrary execution is full respect for stringent due process guarantees which do not appear to have been met in this case. In this regard, she recalled reports that UN experts had received describing his incommunicado detention, torture and ill treatment, and denial of access to a lawyer and adequate medical care.

Mr. Panahi was arrested in June last year for alleged membership of the Kurdish nationalist group Komala, and was held in solitary confinement until January. His family received no information about his fate or whereabouts for four months after his arrest. He was convicted for taking up arms against the State and sentenced to death by a Revolutionary Court in January 2018.

“I have been in dialogue with the Iranian authorities regarding Mr. Panahi’s situation,” Callamard concluded.


Ms. Agnes Callamard (France), Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions,  has a distinguished career in human rights and humanitarian work globally. Ms. Callamard is the Director of Columbia Global Freedom of Expression at Columbia University and has previously worked with Article 19 and Amnesty International. She has advised multilateral organizations and governments around the world, has led human rights investigations in more than 30 countries, and has published extensively on human rights and related fields.

Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights country page - Iran

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This year is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70th anniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Up for Human Rightswww.standup4humanrights.org.