Wednesday , 12 June 2024

Iranian Man Facing Execution Did Not Kill IRGC Colonel, Sources Reveal

iranintl – Reza Rasaei, a young Iranian man facing execution for the killing of a high-ranking IRGC Colonel, was not involved in the clash that resulted in the official’s death, Iran International has learned.

In late 2022, while the Islamic Republic’s security forces were in the throes of their violent crackdown on unprecedented anti-regime protests, news spread that a senior IRGC intelligence official had reportedly been stabbed to death.

In response to Nader Bayrami’s killing in the province of Kermanshah, authorities arbitrarily detained dozens of protesters in retaliation.

Days later, they would single out Kurdish man Reza Rasaei, blaming him for the alleged crime.

Exclusive interviews with eyewitnesses to the killing of the IRGC official and sources close to Rasaei’s family cast complete doubt on the regime’s narrative.

According to new information, Rasaei was not involved in the altercation that led to the death of the IRGC official and was ultimately forced to confess to Bayrami’s murder under extreme torture.

Rasaei, 34, was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court of Iran in December 2023 and is currently imprisoned in Dizel Abad prison in Kermanshah, where he faces the imminent threat of execution.

‘Rasaei Absent from Clash Leading to IRGC Officer’s Death’

In the wake of Iranian-Kurdish woman Mahsa Jina Amini’s death in September 2022, at the hands of the regime’s so-called morality police, nationwide protests were sweeping across Iran.

Authorities were on high alert to stifle any gatherings that could escalate into larger demonstrations, often targeting Iran’s Kurdish population.

In mid-November, eyewitnesses reported that nearly 3,000 people attended a commemoration ceremony in western Iran.

It was during this event that senior IRGC official Nader Bayrami reportedly lost his life.

The gathering honored Seyed Khalil Alinejad — an influential Kurdish and Yarsan figure believed to have been killed by regime agents. Originating in 14th-century Iran, Yarsan is one of the Middle East’s oldest faiths, with over one million followers in the country. The Islamic Republic refuses to recognize Yarsan as a legitimate faith, labeling it a “false cult” and regularly persecuting its followers.

Rasaei, hailing from the Kurdish and Yarsan minority, received a call from state security agents before the gathering to get a commitment that he would not engage in protests and chanting of slogans. He attended the ceremony anyway, holding up a photo of his cousin Khairullah Haqjoyan, who was in custody at the time.

One of Rasaei’s friends, who was also in attendance, reported that the crowd suddenly began chanting anti-regime slogans like “Death to the child-killing government” and “Woman, Life, Freedom.”Authorities quickly began beating people with batons. After a gunshot was heard, security forces released tear gas to disperse the crowd.

“We were all running towards the houses [nearby]. Security forces and plain-clothed security agents surrounded the ceremony. A voice was heard from the crowd saying that one person had been killed,” Rasaei’s friend recounted.

The killings of several young teens and children days prior, by security forces, had ignited a furious atmosphere among Iranians – and the anger among the gathering was reportedly palpable.

According to an eyewitness, the IRGC’s Bayrami and his companions were dressed in civilian attire – with their identities unknown during the altercation.

Bayrami was giving a warning to a woman refusing to wear the hijab, when a group of individuals confronted him and eventually began beating him. In retaliation, Bayrami reportedly used pepper spray.

Two sources with direct knowledge of the events emphasized that Rasaei was not present at the altercation. They noted that he was absent from all published pictures of the clashes that led to Bayrami’s death and was not wearing a mask to conceal his identity.

A source familiar with the case revealed to Iran International that Bayrami sustained nine stab wounds. Word spread after the altercation, that the individual who had been killed was the IRGC Intelligence Chief of Sahneh.

‘Rasaei Was Tortured, Framed, and Sentenced to Death’

Following Bayrami’s death, Iranian security forces arrested close to 60 individuals from the city, a resident told Iran International.

About 6 days later, Rasaei was detained in Shahriar, Tehran province and subsequently subjected to “extremely brutal” torture.

According to two informed sources, Rasaei was forced to confess to the murder of Bayrami under torture.

Sources say what followed Rasaei’s arrest was a non-independent and predetermined judicial process, marred by numerous violations of legal procedures and Rasaei’s basic human rights.

For four months following his arrest, Rasaei was denied phone privileges and visitations from his family. When his family was eventually allowed to visit him, they reportedly barely recognized him.

“His fingers were broken as a result of him being beaten, and his shoulder was broken and oddly mended, leaving his body contorted and he could not walk. The impacts of mental torment were evident on his face. He could barely speak a few words. It seemed as though a different Reza was sitting in the visitation room. It was as if he didn’t know anyone,” a source close to the family disclosed.

Following what Amnesty International called a “grossly unfair trial on 7 October 2023”, Rasaei was arbitrarily convicted of “murder” and sentenced to death – admitting his “torture-tainted forced confessions as evidence”.

Rasaei’s forced confessions, Amnesty said, were “obtained under torture and other ill-treatment, including beatings, electric shocks, suffocation, and sexual violence”.

According to sources, judicial authorities at Branch 2 of Criminal Court 1 of Kermanshah province, had handed him the sentence of “Qisas” for the charge of “participation in murder” and classified the case under security categories.

The judiciary repeatedly denied his family and his lawyers the right to appeal the sentence.

In December 2023, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence.

The Dadban legal group, which monitors the legal proceedings of imprisoned protesters and political prisoners in Iran, also declared on social media that the death sentence against Rasaei is unlawful.

They noted that the court selectively accepted testimony from certain defendants while disregarding evidence that could have exonerated Rasaei. Despite the prosecutor’s report highlighting flaws in the case, the judges persisted in issuing a guilty verdict.

Furthermore, the group of legal experts said, the court ignored the opinions of forensic experts regarding the cause of death and the weapon involved.

Dadban emphasized the influence of powerful institutions in Rasaei’s case, suggesting that the verdict was predetermined despite numerous contradictions and flaws.

This month, Amnesty International issued a call for urgent action, warning that Rasaei is at imminent risk of execution.

Rasaei’s mother has released three videos pleading for help and urging people to prevent the Iranian government from taking her son’s life.