SATURDAY, 30 APRIL 2011
HRANA News Agency – Yesterday, Shirko (Bahman) Maarefi, a Kurdish political prisoner sentenced to death, was transferred to solitary confinement. Previously, Saqqez Prison officials responsible for carrying out executions had verbally informed him of his pending fate. As the time for his execution approached, Shirko Maarefi started his hunger strike on April 28, 2011.
According to a report by the Student Committee for Defense of Political Prisoners in Iran, Shirko Maarefi was arrested on October 1, 2008 and was subsequently sentenced to death by the lower court for the charges of acting against national security, waging war against God and membership in the Kurdish Komalah party. Due to objections made by the attorneys to the legality of charges and the trial proceedings, the defendant’s request for a hearing by the Head of the Judiciary Branch, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, was accepted, and the case was referred to the Supreme Court.
As a result of the decision made by Saqqez’s prosecutor to modify the charges against Shirko Maarefi, the case should have been retried and similarly the death penalty not upheld. However, since the Appeals court in Kurdistan Province didn’t considered itself qualified, the case was once again referred to Tehran. Given the fact that the legal objections have been accepted by the Head of the Judiciary Branch, the attorneys have not yet received an official confirmation of death penalty. Meanwhile, on March 22, 2011, Saqqez Prison officials verbally notified Shirko Maarefi that his death sentence would be carried out on May 1, 2011, the International Workers’ Day.
On April 26, 2011, Shirko Maarefi issued a statement from prison to confirm the verbal notification of his pending execution although his attorney, Ahmad Saeed Sheikhi, hasn’t received an official or legal correspondence regarding this matter.
Despite the fact that Shirko Maarefi’s death penalty has not been upheld, his case has been referred to the officials responsible to carry out executions in Kurdistan Province. Reacting to this situation, Shirko Maarefi announced his hunger strike on April 28, 2011.
Because some sources have reported that Shirko Maarefi has been transferred to solitary confinement, concerns regarding his imminent execution has increased. In an interview with Radio Neda, Khalil Bahramian, the consulting attorney on the case, explained, “Any time, the order can be carried out.”