Syrian Kurd under threat of execution in Iran
On 20 May 2017, Kamal Hassan Ramezan Soulo was unexpectedly summoned by prison officials and told that he had a death sentence. This followed from a chain of events that demonstrate a deeply flawed criminal justice system in Iran, including how intelligence and security bodies act with impunity to arbitrarily deprive individuals of their human rights, including the right to life, liberty and security. In 2015, following a number of armed clashes between the Iranian security forces and PJAK, the Iranian authorities brought fresh criminal charges against two senior ranking members of PJAK identified as “Kamal Soor” and “Rahman Haji Ahmadi”, and sought the assistance of Interpol to locate and arrest them. On 12 November 2011, the two men had been convicted by Branch 3 of the Revolutionary Court of Urumieh of “enmity against God” (moharebeh) in their absence and sentenced to death in connection with an armed attack on a police station in Erbilan, near Urumieh, on 26 July 2006, which the Iranian authorities had attributed to PJAK. Following the introduction of fresh charges against the two men in 2015, the prosecution authorities also requested information from the Revolutionary Guards and the ministry of intelligence about their whereabouts. In response, the ministry of intelligence claimed that the real identity of “Kamal Soor” was Kamal Hassan Ramezan Soulo, who was already imprisoned. On this basis, on 28 July 2016, the prosecution authorities put Kamal Hassan Ramezan Soulo under investigation for “enmity against God” (moharebeh) in connection with the July 2006 attack.
Kamal Hassan Ramezan Soulo only learnt on 20 May 2017 that ministry of intelligence officials were falsely claiming that he was “Kamal Soor” and sought to attribute to him the conviction and death sentence issued in absentia for “Kamal Soor”, when prison officials provided him with a copy of a letter sent from the Office for the Implementation of Sentences to the head of Urumieh Central Prison and dated 17 May 2017. The letter stated, “Kamal Hassan Ramezan Soulo (Kamal Soor) had been sentenced to death by Branch 3 of the Revolutionary Court in Urumieh on 12 November 2011 for moharebeh [enmity against God]”. The letter added that “the sentence was final, and it should be communicated to the convict.”
Kamal Hassan Ramezan Soulo’s lawyer subsequently filed a complaint with the prosecution authorities, stating that what had happened in his client’s case was against the law, and that his client had been denied the opportunity to be heard in the court and present evidence confirming that he is not “Kamal Soor”. The Office for the Implementation of Sentences, which falls under the office of the prosecution, subsequently referred the case for advice to Branch 3 of the Revolutionary Court. On 22 August 2017, the court ruled that the death sentence it had issued against “Kamal Soor” in 2011 shall not be applied to Kamal Hassan Ramezan Soulo until further investigations take place to clarify whether the two names refer to the same person. The court noted in its ruling that according to the Revolutionary Guards, the two are not one person, and “Kamal Soor” remained at liberty.
In the following months, Kamal Hassan Ramezan Soulo’s lawyer submitted evidence to the prosecution authorities and Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court of Urumieh, which was presiding over the new case opened against “Kamal Soor” in 2015. The evidence included identification documents, which confirmed that Kamal Hassan Ramezan Soulo had been born in Ras al-Ayn in al-Hasakah Governorate in Syria, while “Kamal Soor” had been identified as having been born in Mardin in Turkey. The documents further established that Kamal Hassan Ramezan Soulo was born on 1 January 1990, which meant that he was 16 years old at the time of the attack in 2006, and this conflicted with information presented by intelligence officials indicating that “Kamal Soor” was a senior ranking member of PJAK. Based on this evidence, which was also supported by the Revolutionary Guards, Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court of Urumieh concluded in September 2017 that Kamal Hassan Ramezan Soulo and “Kamal Soor” were not one person and removed Kamal Hassan Ramezan Soulo from the new case pending against “Kamal Soor”. Despite all this, ministry of intelligence officials have continued to refuse to acknowledge the true identity of Kamal Hassan Ramezan Soulo, and still seek his execution. On 2 March 2020, his lawyer filed a new complaint with the prosecution authorities. Following repeated follow-ups, the complaint was referred to Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court of Urumieh. In early June 2020, the court confirmed, once again, that Kamal Hassan Ramezan Soulo and “Kamal Soor” are not one person and ordered the prosecution authorities to locate the latter. However, Kamal Hassan Ramezan Soulo continues to be arbitrarily detained.