Arzhang Davoudi Zabol Prison Iran

Appeal by political prisoner on imminent execution of cellmate in Iran



  • UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
  • Ms. Asma Jahangir, Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation


According to reliable information, authorities of Zabol prison have received instructions on Monday, 5 December 2016, to carry out the death sentence for Vali Yousef Zehi, a young man aged 23.

The young man who was arrested when he was 17 for carrying opium was brought up in a very poor family. As his father was handicap he had to bear the burden of feeding the family; father, mother, younger sister and two brothers. Working as a porter he was paid a small money to carry some opium but unfortunately he was arrested and like many other victims sentenced to death.

I have been serving in exile for more than two months and a half in ward 2 of Zabol prison and have found this young man as a dignified, gentle and courteous person. He has been held in this horrifying prison for six years and I have never even seen him smoking a cigarette and yet been working in prison ward’s tailor shop to fund his poor family with the little money he earns with great hardship.

I, therefore, appeal to you and all human rights organizations and opponents of capital punishment to take necessary measures expeditiously to stop implementation of this young man’s death sentence who was under 18 at the time of his arrest according to explicit view of experts of justice department of the regime ruling in Tehran – which is also indicated in his file.

I should add that this young man has been in a state of shock close to coma since he has heard about his imminent execution.


Arzhang Davoudi

Zabol Prison, 8 December 2016


Arzhang Davoudi was arrested in 2003 and held in solitary confinement for prolonged periods during which he was tortured and denied access to a lawyer and his family.

In March 2005, he was sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment, reduced to 10 years on appeal, on charges of “spreading propaganda against the system” and “establishing and directing an organization opposed to the government” for his peaceful activities, including directing a cultural education centre, according to Amnesty International. In May 2014, he was sentenced to an additional two years’ imprisonment, on the charge of “insulting the Supreme Leader”.