The family of a KU student face death penalty in Iran after a year of torture

A Kingston student is fearing for his family and friends in Iran after they were sentenced to death by the Iranian courts.

Jack Hammond and Jamie Elliott

A KU student has described his fears for his two cousins and three friends after they were sentenced to death by the Iranian courts.

Kamil Alboshoka’s two cousins, Jabber and Mokhtar, along with his three friends Mohammed Amouri, Hashem Shabani and Hadi Rashedi, were arrested in their homes in Ahwaz, Iran in 2011.

“Their death penalty decision was upheld by high revolution court in Tehran which puts them in a very dangerous situation,” said Mr Alboshoka, 29, a final year human geography student at Kingston.

“They have very poor health now and do not have access to doctors. They have a lack of food and poor facilities in the prison.”

Tortured day and night

The five were all members of Al-Hiwar, a scientific and cultural institute which works to fight the oppression of the Iranian government.

The activists were arrested on charges including ‘enmity against God’, ‘corruption on earth’ and spreading propaganda against the system.

Following their arrest they were taken to a secret place by the security services where they were tortured day and night, it is claimed.

Mr Alboshoka said: “Hadi’s leg was broken in detention. They put Hashem’s leg in boiling water, Jaber’s jaw and teeth were broken and he lost 10kg of his weight.

“Mokhtar lost his memory because of torture.

“They tortured them with wood, cable, electric shocks, piping and put their legs inside boiling water.”

“I am so sad, I love them.”

Mr Alboshoka now holds little hope of getting his friends and family out of prison but hopes to quash the death penalty that awaits them.

He said: “I am so sad. I love them. They were very educated and active.”

Life-threatening conditions

Mr Alboshoka now feels helpless and powerless to aid the safe return of his cousins.

He said: “I would like to help but it is so difficult because it is run by a very harsh dictatorship and a racist regime.”

After several months, reports from the United Nations forced the regime to send the men from their isolated detention to prison.

However they still face life-threatening conditions.

A call to halt execution

Ahmed Shaheed, a UN human rights spokesman in Iran said: “It is absolutely unacceptable for individuals to be imprisoned and condemned to death for exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, association, opinion and expression, and affiliation to minority groups and to cultural institutions.”

Immense suffering

Mr Alboshoka himself was arrested and tortured by the services in 2005 after protesting against the Iranian government.

After his family paid his bail, he fled to the UK.

He said: “I have a lot of family there including cousins, male and female.

“In 2012 I lost four of my relatives, three of them killed by Iranian security guards and my 19-year-old cousin was killed under torture.” 

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