Zanyar Moradi was hanged in Iran on Saturday. He was 27. He was a native of the Kurdish border city of Mariwan in Iranian Kurdistan. He was arrested in 2009 on charges of killing the son of the city’s Friday preacher.
Until the day he died Moradi, who was arrested and hanged alongside his cousin Loghman Moradi, denied the charges and defended his innocence.
Kurdish journalist Ala Hoshyar conducted an interview with Moradi via Telegram App and a cellphone that had been smuggled into the prison at the cost of $700.
Moradi said that he was tortured every day for nine months straight at the beginning of his imprisonment. He believed that the intelligence agency had arrested him as a way to get back his father who is a member of the Komala party. Otherwise, argues Moradi in this interview, neither the courts nor the intelligence agency were able to provide any evidence that could link him to the killing of the preacher’s son.
When were you arrested and why?
Zanyar Moradi: I was arrested in Mariwan in 2009, and two days later Loghman Moradi was arrested, too. For nine full months under torture the only charges they threw at us was membership in the Komala party. They also kept trying to recruit us and make us help them but we didn’t. That’s why nine months later they said that if we still refused to cooperate they’ll punish us on charges of muharaba, meaning fighting against the regime and that’s also why they brought the killing of the son of Mariwan’s Friday preacher Mustafa Sherzadi into the fray. According to the Iranian intelligence department the sons of the preacher were in contact with the al-Qaeda.
Once they mentioned the new charges the torture began to increase and intensify. Two of my disks were dislocated under torture and I underwent surgeries twice at a Tehran hospital under close supervision of the intelligence agency.
The charges were all baseless and even the family of Mustafa Sherzadi themselves know that these charges are false and completely fabricated by the intelligence branch of Sina (Sanandaj) against us. Even the preacher himself has said on a few occasions, “Somewhere they’ve caught two children and say they’ve killed your son.”
When did they sentence you to death?
The Revolutionary court of Iran sentenced us to death in 2012, three years after we were arrested. The Tehran branch of the intelligence saw us and asked for more information and details. Once again we defended ourselves and told them that it was not in us to kill anyone. After that meeting the ministry of justice decided our case had to be reviewed and further investigated.
In 2013 our case was referred to the court again and together with our attorney Mr. Saleh Nikbakht we met judge Abdollahi. He said there was no such thing in our case to be hanged for and as a result referred our case to the investigations department for further follow up. That year our case was referred back to Mariwan five times that year but nothing changed or was added to it. Therefore, the investigator wrote that he hadn’t been able to find any new evidence against us. He mentioned that the main plaintiff against us was the intelligence department whom he said should provide further details and evidence of their own. The intelligence department did not want the courts to reopen and review our case. The intelligence says that we should be given the sentence they want and the judicial department does not want to give in to that and we’re caught in this between. If we’re retried we’ve a number of witnesses who are willing to come to court and say that on the night of the killing Loghman wasn’t even in Mariwan.
How old were you when arrested?
I had just turned 19 and now nine years have passed on imprisonment.
Have they ever asked you about your father who was a member of the Komala and that your case may be related to him?
I’ll have to go back to 2007 when I was detained and questioned a few other times by the intelligence to a point where I got to know the officers who worked there and I told them that they don’t need to detain me that way and need to only phone me and I’ll walk to them myself. One time the officer said it is not us who wants you, it’s the branch of Sanandaj. The first night of my detention they said to me, “Your father should have known that we could harm, him too. He’s always in Mariwan acting against us and therefore we got you so that he stops his activities.” So my case is tied to my father and three months before my arrest my father was the target of an assassination attempt by the Iranian intelligence in the Kurdistan Region. But luckily, despite being hit by nine bullets he survived. Under torture they kept saying to me, “You’re Iqbal’s son.” I’ve no doubt this is all a political revenge. It was a show created just to get back at my father, that’s why they don’t let our case taken back to court where they’re sure everything will be clarified.
What do you have to say to the Friday preacher of Mariwan?
I don’t see myself as guilty to even have to talk to him. He knows too well who killed his son and how. Someone from the government had already told him that he had been there when his son was killed and that he knows everything. My only request for the preacher is that he decides based on the witnesses he knows about. I don’t want to apologize to him because I haven’t done him any wrong. I’d only tell him not to become part of the show that the intelligence has carved out in order to get back at my father.