For Immediate Release
Amnesty International Urges Iran to Rescind First Death Sentence Imposed as a Result of Presidential Protests
Human Rights Organization Fears More Death Sentences Against Protesters while 13 Other Individuals Are at Risk of Being Executed in Iran
NEW YORK - Amnesty International today
urged Iran to rescind a death sentence imposed on Mohammad-Reza Ali-Zamani,
the first person to be sentenced to death for protesting the disputed June
presidential election. The human rights organization said it fears
Zamani's death sentence will pave the way for more death sentences against
others involved in the protests.
Zamani, 37, was sentenced to death by a Tehran
Revolutionary Court on Thursday after his conviction on a string of charges
including "enmity against God," "gathering and colluding with
intent to harm national internal security," "propaganda against
the system," and leaving the country illegally, allegedly to meet
in Iraq with U.S. military officials.
"Zamani's trial was a mockery of justice,"
said Amnesty International USA Executive Director Larry Cox. "To
impose the death sentence is beyond deplorable. Iran should immediately
rescind this sentence."
He is among more than 100 people currently
on trial before a Tehran Revolutionary Court stemming from the protests
following the June 12 presidential election. Amnesty International fears
that Zamani's death sentence will pave the way for more death sentences
against those being tried on similar offenses.
At least 13 other individuals are currently
at risk of being executed in Iran. On Friday -- one day before the
international community observes World Day Against the Death Penalty --
ambassadors of the nations of the European Union (EU) gathered at the Swedish
embassy in Washington DC and called on all nations to abolish the death
Akram Mahdavi, 35, who was sentenced to death
in 2003 for murdering her 74-year-old husband is reported to be scheduled
to be executed in the coming days, even though her lawyer has not been
informed, as is required by Iranian law.
Seven men from Iran's Ahwazi Arab minority also are at risk of imminent
execution in Karoun Prison in Ahvaz city, the capital of Khuzestan province.
They have been convicted of "acting against
national security" and killing an anti-Sunni Shi'a cleric in June 2007.
Iranian sources fear that these executions
may take place shortly - possibly as soon as October 14.
The men, some of whom were known political
activists within the Ahwazi Arab community, denied the charges.
Three men, members of Iran's Kurdish minority,
are also feared to be at risk of imminent execution. This may be in reprisal
for a spate of assassinations and attempted assassinations in September
2009 of officials in the northwestern province of Kordestan.
Habibollah Latifi, Ehsan (Esma'il) Fattahian
and Sherko Moarefi have all been sentenced to death for "enmity against
God" in unconnected cases over the last two years. They are believed to
be on death row in a prison in Sanandaj, the provincial capital of Kordestan.
Two Iranian men are also at risk of imminent
execution in Tehran for murders they committed while under the age of 18.
According to their lawyer, Behnoud Shojaee, 21, is due to be executed on
October 11, 2009, while Safar Angooti is due to be executed on October
21, 2009, although a newspaper report has suggested his execution may take
place as soon as October 19.
Afghan national Abbas Hosseini was scheduled
to be executed last Monday for a murder he was accused of committing when
he was only 17. Hosseini was sentenced to death in June 2004 for the murder
of a man who had tried to rape him in July 2003. His execution was postponed
to later this month to allow more time for officials to try to persuade
the victim's family to pardon him in exchange for monetary compensation
in the form of diyeh.
Executions of those under 18 at the time of
their alleged offence are strictly prohibited under international law.
Amnesty International continues to urge the
Iranian authorities to impose an immediate and comprehensive moratorium
on executions, as a first step toward ending the use of this punishment.
We are people from across the world standing up for humanity and human rights. Our purpose is to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. We investigate and expose abuses, educate and mobilize the public, and help transform societies to create a safer, more just world.