Shirkoo Moarefi’s Lawyer Says His Execution Orders Have Been Issued
In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Saeed Sheikhi, political prisoner Shirkoo Moarefi’s lawyer, said that his client’s death sentence, issued on charges of “acting against national security” and “moharebeh” (enmity with God) and upheld by the Supreme Court, has been sent to the Implementation Unit of the Judiciary, even though neither he nor his client have been served with the papers. Moarefi’s lawyer is concerned because over the past few years, several times execution orders have been carried out without informing the lawyers or families of the prisoners. Last year, Arash Rahmanipour was executed without the knowledge of his lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, or his family.
Earlier, Mukrian News Agency announced that starting 28 April, Shirkoo Moarefi has started a hunger strike in protest to his situation. “Last Thursday I spoke with my client on the phone. His psychological state was good. We talked about the legal aspects of his case. I know that he has started his hunger strike,” Sheikhi told the Campaign.
“I heard that the execution orders have been sent to the Implementation Unit, but this ruling has not yet been served to me or my client. So long as it has not been served, carrying out the execution would be illegal. I am still hopeful that the ruling would be overturned, as the ‘moharebeh’ charge was once pronounced illegal by the Head of the Judiciary and his Deputy, and his charge was changed to ‘propagating against the regime.’ I believe that the Head of the Judiciary and his Judicial Deputy will order a stay of execution and order a fresh review,” Shirkoo Moarefi’s lawyer told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
Asked how it is possible that Moarefi’s “moharebeh” charge was upheld after it had been overturned by the Head of the Judiciary, Saeed Sheikhi responded: “That’s precisely what we have a problem with. From a legal point of view, The Supreme Court was not qualified to review this case and their intervention in the case is illegal. The review should have been carried out by an appeals court at the same level as the lower court. The review is not complete yet. I believe that when the charge of moharebeh which the Saghez Prosecutor had mistakenly stated in the original indictment was corrected, changing ‘moharebeh’ to ‘propagating against the regime,’ and the Head of the Judiciary and his Judicial Deputy had agreed with it, there was no need for the case to be continued through the Supreme Court, but, unfortunately, the Supreme Court did not take notice of this.”
“The Supreme Court should not have entered this case. This is where the mistake is, because the Supreme Court can only review cases at two stages, either when a sentence has been issued by an appeals court and the Supreme Court’s assistance is sought, or when the review of a case is forwarded to them as an extraordinary measure. Shirkoo’s case met neither of these two criteria,” said Saeed Sheikhi about the lack of qualification for the Supreme Court to interfere in this case.
Kurdish political prisoner Shirkoo Moarefi was arrested on 1 October 2008 at the Iran-Iraq border, as he attempted returning from Iraq’s Kurdistan to Iran. In March there was a rumor about his impending execution on 1 May. Moarefi’s family and lawyer rejected the rumors. Later, he wrote a letter from prison, stating that “on 22 March, the Implementation Unit officers of Saghez Prison…verbally advised me that the sentence will be carried out on 1 May.”