Mission Free Iran Coordinates International Protest to Halt a New Round of Executions; the Lives of Jafar Kazemi, Sakineh Ashtiani and Others Are in Imminent Danger
As the Islamic Republic of Iran increases its arrests, detentions and death-penalty prosecutions of political activists in an effort to maintain political control inside the country, activists outside of Iran collaborate across borders to demand an immediate halt to all executions, including the imminent executions of Jafar Kazemi and Sakineh Ashtiani. The Islamic Republic’s recent acceleration in arrests and death sentences leveraged under the charge of “mohareb” (enemy of God) recalls the regime’s method of using rapid trials to facilitate immediate execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988.
Washington, D.C. August 3, 2010 – As the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) increases its arrest, detention and death-penalty prosecution of political, worker, and human rights activists in an effort to maintain political control inside the country, protesters collaborate across borders to demand that the Islamic Republic immediately cease all executions, end torture, and free all political prisoners in Iran.
The ongoing campaign to free Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has highlighted the brutality of the Islamic Republic on the international stage. Ashtiani represents thousands of people facing execution in Iran; the Islamic Republic uses execution as a primary method of quelling political and social dissidence inside the country. On August 5 2010, human rights activists around the world continue their demand for international attention to the Islamic Republic’s acceleration of arrests and executions. Protests are confirmed for Tbilisi, Georgia; Berlin, Germany; Glasgow Scotland, Los Angeles, New York City and Washington DC, United States; and Ottawa, Canada, with additional cities expected to join.
Many of those facing imminent execution in Iran, including Zeynab Jalalian and Jafar Kazemi, are under death sentences leveraged on the charge of “mohareb” (legally meaningless act against God). The charge of mohareb, combined with indications that the Islamic Republic is preparing to accelerate the execution of dissidents, recalls that government’s method of using rapid trials to justify immediate executions of political prisoners in 1988.
Jafar Kazemi was sentenced to death as Mohareb and for “propaganda about the system” due to his participation in the 2009 Qods Day protests as well as his son’s involvement with the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK); notably, he was not accused of any violent act. He was harshly interrogated and pressured in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison to make a televised confession, which he refused to do. The execution of Kazemi, a political prisoner, is believed to be imminent.
Others facing imminent execution on the basis of alleged ties to MEK or on charges of Moharebeh include Mohammad Ali Haj Aghaei; Abdolreza Ghanbari, Ahmad Daneshpour and his son Mohsen; and Ali Saremi. Though five of the six were arrested following the 2009 post-election protests, the regime claims they are all connected with the People’s Mujahedin of Iran. Others facing imminent execution include Zeinab Jalalian, accused of sympathizing with a Kurdish anti-regime organization, and Mohammad-Reza Haddadi, who was accused of murder and sentenced to execution as a 15 year old; under international law, it is illegal to impose the death penalty on a child.
The protests of August 5 demand freedom for political prisoners in Iran, and an immediate halt to torture and execution. National governments must call in the Islamic Republic’s diplomatic representatives to make it clear that the international community will not tolerate stoning, hanging, rape, torture, and punishments such as the cutting off of hands and legs and the pulling out of eyes. We emphasize once again that a regime that resorts to these methods to maintain its power has no legitimacy, as millions of Iranian protesters in the streets of Tehran and other cities have declared, and its leaders belong behind bars.
While we continue our campaign to free Sakineh and protect courageous lawyers practicing in Iran like Mohammad Mostafaei, we call upon people around the world to join us to stop executions, torture, and political imprisonment in Iran altogether.
For additional information on the August 5, 2010 protests, contact Maria Rohaly or visit http://missionfreeiran.org.
Mission Free Iran