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Amnesty International

Iran: Further information on Death penalty / fear of imminent execution

Amnesty International
April 2, 2007
Appeal/Urgent Action

AI Index: MDE 13/041/2007

Further Information on UA 57/06 (MDE 13/023/2006, 10 March 2006) and follow-ups (MDE 13/073/2006, 29 June 2006; MDE 13/085/2006, 1 August 2006) - Death Penalty/ Fear of imminent execution

IRAN Nazem Buraihi (m)

Aliredha Salman Delfi (m)

Ali Helfi (m)

Jaafar Sawari (m)

Mohammad Ali Sawari (m), teacher

Moslem al-Ha’i (m) Abdulredha Nawaseri (m), aged 31

Yahia Nasseri (m)

Abdulzahra Halichi (m)

Abdul-Imam Za’eri (m)

Executed: Risan Sawari (m) aged 32, teacher

Risan Sawari, a member of Iran's Arab minority, was reportedly executed on 14 February at an unknown location in Khuzestan province.

According to reports, Risan Sawari’s mother, brother and sister were allowed to visit him on the night before his execution, and they claimed that he was aware that his death sentence was about to be carried out. Following the execution, Risan Sawari's body was not handed over to his relatives, but was buried by the authorities.

Risan Sawari was arrested in April 2005, released and arrested again in September 2005. He was amongst a group of 11 men whose death sentences were reportedly confirmed on 10 June 2006 by Branch 3 of the Revolutionary Court in Ahwaz. They included Zamel Bawi (see UA 233/05, MDE 13/051/2005, 9 September 2005 and follow ups) Jaafar Sawari, Nazem Buraihi, Ali Helfi, Abdulredha Nawaseri, Yahia Nasseri, Abdul-Imam Za’eri and Abdul-Zahra Halichi. It is not known if Risan Sawari's death sentence had been upheld by the Supreme Court.

The 11 men, all members of Iran's Arab minority, were reportedly accused of involvement in bomb explosions in the city of Ahvaz, in Khuzestan province, which took place in October 2005. They were reportedly charged withbeing "mohareb" (at enmity with God), as well as with "destabilising the country", "attempting to overthrow the government", "possession of home made bombs", "sabotage of oil installations" and carrying out bombings in Ahvaz, which took place between June and October 2005. Risan Sawari was shown "confessing" to involvement in the bombings on Khuzestan Provincial Television on 1 March 2006. Two others who "confessed" in the same television broadcast, Mehdi Nawaseri and Ali Awdeh Afrawi, were hanged in public the following morning. Another two Iranian Arabs apparently convicted in connection with the bombings in Ahvaz, were hanged on the same day as Risan Sawari.

Dr Awdeh Afrawi, who was charged in relation to the bombings in Ahvaz, is serving a 22-year prison sentence in exile in the city of Ardabil, northwestern Iran. There is no further news on the other men named above, who are also thought to be at risk of execution in relation to their alleged involvement in the bomb explosions.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Much of Iran's Arab community lives in the province of Khuzestan, which borders Iraq. It is strategically important because it is the site of much of Iran’s oil reserves, but the Arab population does not feel it has benefited as much from theoil revenue as the Persian population. Historically, the Arab community has been marginalised and discriminated against. Tension has mounted among the Arab population since April 2005, after it was alleged that the government planned to disperse the country's Arab population or to force them to relinquish their Arab identity. Hundreds have been arrested and there have been reports of torture. Following bomb explosions in Ahvaz City in June and October 2005, which killed at least 14 people, and explosions at oil installations in September and October 2005, the cycle of violence has intensified, with hundreds of people reportedly arrested. Further bombings on 24 January 2006, in which at least six people were killed,were followed by further mass arrests. A total of 12 men have now been executed as a result of their alleged involvement in the bombings.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in English, Arabic, Persian or your own language:

- stating that Amnesty International recognizes the rights and responsibilities of governments to bring to justice those suspected of criminal offences, but strongly opposes the death penalty as the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and violation of the right to life;

- expressing concern at the execution of Risan Sawari on 14 February, and noting that Nazem Buraihi, Aliredha Salman Delfi, Ali Helfi, Jaafar Sawari, Mohammad Ali Sawari, Moslem al-Ha’I, Abdulredha Nawaseri, Yahia Nasseri, Abdulzahra Halichi and Abdul-Imam Za’eri may also be at risk of execution;

- calling for their death sentences to be commuted;

- expressing concern at reports that they were not granted access to a lawyer during some or all sessions of their possible trials, which reportedly did not meet international standards for a fair trial, as laid down by Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Iran is a State Party.

- calling for the Iranian Arab men to be given continuous access to lawyers, their families, interpreters and adequate medical treatment if necessary;

- seeking assurances that they are not being tortured or ill-treated in detention.

APPEALS TO:

Leader of the Islamic Republic

His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei, The Office of the Supreme Leader

Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran

Email: info@leader.irOR istiftaa@wilayah.org

Fax: + 98 251 774 2228 (mark "FAO the Office of His Excellency, Ayatollah al Udhma Khamenei")

Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of the Judiciary

Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi

Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Justice Building, Panzdah-Khordad Square, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Fax: + 98 21 3390 4986 (please keep trying; send appeals by post or email if you cannot get through)

Email: info@dadgostary-tehran.ir(In the subject line write: For the attention of Ayatollah Shahroudi)

Salutation: Your Excellency

COPIES TO:

President

His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

The Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Email: dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir

via website: www.president.ir/email

Speaker of Parliament

His Excellency Gholamali Haddad Adel

Majles-e Shoura-ye Eslami, Imam Khomeini Avenue, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Fax: + 98 21 6 646 1746

and to diplomatic representatives of Iran accredited to your country.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY.Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 14 May 2007.