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Amnesty International

Iran: Further information on Fear of imminent execution

Amnesty International
January 25, 2007
Appeal/Urgent Action

 AI Index: MDE 13/006/2007

Further Information on UA 301/06 (MDE 13/126/2006, 13 November 2006) and follow-ups (MDE 13/123/2006, 7 December 2006; MDE 13/142/2006, 22 December 2006) - Fear of imminent execution

IRAN Abdulreza Sanawati Zergani (m)

Qasem Salamat (m) aged 43

Majed Alboghubaish (m)

Abdul Husain Haribi (m)

Husain Maramazi (m)

Husain Asakreh (m)

Executed: Mohammad Jaab Pour (m)

Abdulamir Farjallah Jaab (m)

Alireza Asakreh (m)

Khalaf Derhab Khudayrawi (m)

Khalaf Derhab Khudayrawi, Alireza Asakreh, Mohammad Jaab Pour and Abdulamir Farjallah Jaab were reportedly executed on 24 January 2007 in prison in Khuzestan province. According to reports, the four were denied access to their lawyers for the two weeks prior to their execution. The six other men named above remain at grave risk of imminent execution.

On 19 December 2006 three other men, Abdullah Suleymani (initially named as Alireza Asakreh), Malek Banitamim and Ali Matouri Zadeh, were also executed in prison.

Khalaf Derhab Khudayrawi was reportedly arrested on or around 2 March 2006. He had reportedly been shot by security forces before being detained. His wife, Soghra Khudayrawi, and theirfour-year-old son Zeidan, were detained in the city ofAhvaz in Khuzestan provinceon 7 March 2006 and are still being held (see UA 65/06, MDE 13/028/2006, 23 March 2006 and follow-up; and Appeal Case: Four Ahwazi Arab women and two children: Prisoners of conscience, MDE 13/059/2006, 17 May 2006). Mohammad Jaab Pour and Abdulamir Farjallah Jaab were also reportedly arrested on 7 March 2006.

On 13 November, an Iranian local television station, Khuzestan TV, broadcast a documentary which included the "confessions" of nine of these men, as well as a tenth man, Ali Matouri Zadeh, who was arrested along with his pregnant wife on 28 February 2006 (see UA 107/06, MDE 13/042/2006, 28 April 2006 and follow-up). The 10 men had been sentenced to death in connection with involvement in bomb explosions which took place in cities in Khuzestan province in 2005. In the programme, the 10, said to be members of a group named Al-e Naser, (a little-known Iranian Arab militant group that is not known to have been active since the time of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s) "confessed" to their involvement in the bomb explosions.

On 10 January 2007, three leading UN human rights experts (Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Leandro Despouy, UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, and Manfred Nowak, UN Special Rapporteur on torture) jointly called on the government of Iran to "stop the imminent execution of seven men belonging to the Ahwazi Arab minority and grant them a fair and public hearing." The seven individuals concerned were reported to be Abdulreza Sanawati Zergani, Qasem Salamat, Mohammad Jaab Pour, Abdulamir Farjallah Jaab, Alireza Asakreh, Majed Alboghubaish and Khalaf Derhab Khudayrawi. The UN experts stated: "We are fully aware that these men are accused of serious crimes… However, this cannot justify their conviction and execution after trials that made a mockery of due process requirements."

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Much of Iran's Arab community lives in the province of Khuzestan, which borders Iraq. Historically, the Arab community has been marginalised and discriminated against. In April 2005, Iranian Arabs took part in mass demonstrations in Ahvaz city, 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 were arrested and some were reportedly tortured. Following bomb explosions between June 2005 and January 2006, hundreds more were reportedly arrested. Two men, Mehdi Nawaseri and Ali Awdeh Afrawi, were executed in public on 2 March 2006 after they were convicted of involvement in one of thebombings. Their executions followed unfair trials before a Revolutionary Court during which they are believed to have been denied access to lawyers, and their "confessions", along with those of seven other men, were broadcast on television. Amnesty International recognizes the right and responsibility of governments to bring to justice those suspected of criminal offences, but is unconditionally opposed to the death penalty as the ultimate violation of the right to life (see Iran: Death Sentences appeal case – 11 Iranian Arab men facing death sentences, AI Index MDE 13/051/2006, May 2006).

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

- expressing grave concern that the six men (naming them) may be in imminent danger of execution;

- urging the Iranian authorities to commute their death sentences immediately;

- expressing concern that their trials appear to be have been unfair, and asking for details of their trial proceedings, including whether they were granted access to independent lawyers of their choice, and, if indeed convicted and sentenced to death, whether they have been allowed to appeal against their convictions and sentences, as required by Article 14 (5) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

-expressing concern that the men may have been compelled to testify against themselves or to confess guilt during interrogations which did not respect the necessary human rights safeguards, such as the right of access to legal counsel;

- acknowledging that governments have a responsibility to bring to justice those suspected of criminal offences, but stating your unconditional opposition to the death penalty, as the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and violation of the right to life.

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.ir OR istiftaa@wilayah.org

Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of the Judiciary

His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi

Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Salutation: Your Excellency

COPIES TO:

President

His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

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

Fax: (via foreign ministry) +98 21 6 674 790 (mark "Please forward to H.E. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad")

Email: dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir OR via website: www.president.ir/email

Salutation: Your Excellency

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 8 March 2007.