Promoting tolerance and justice through knowledge and understanding
Amnesty International

Iran: Further information on Fear of imminent execution

Amnesty International
December 7, 2006
Appeal/Urgent Action

AI Index: MDE 13/123/2006

Further Information on UA 301/06 (MDE 13/126/2006, 13 November 2006) Fear of imminent execution

IRAN Abdullah Suleymani (m) aged 27

Abdulreza Sanawati Zergani (m)

Qasem Salamat (m) aged 43

Mohammad Jaab Pour (m)

Abdulamir Farjallah Jaab (m)

Alireza Asakreh (m)

Majed Alboghubaish (m)

Khalaf Derhab Khudayrawi (m)

Malek Banitamim (m) aged 30

New names: Abdul Husain Haribi (m)

Husain Maramazi (m)

Husain Asakreh (m)

The nine men named above remain at risk of imminent execution. A further three members of Iran's Arab minority, Abdul Husain Haribi, Husain Maramazi and Husain Asakreh, have also since reportedly been sentenced to death in connection with involvement in bomb explosions.

On 13 November, an Iranian local television station, Khuzestan TV, broadcast a documentary which included the “confessions” of 10 men: Abdullah Suleymani, Abdulreza Sanawati Zergani, Qasem Salamat, Mohammad Jaab Pour, Abdulamir Farjallah Jaab, Alireza Asakreh, Majed Alboghubaish, Khalaf Derhab Khudayrawi, Malek Banitamim, and a tenth man, named as Ali Motairi Nejad. The 10 men had been sentenced to death in connection with involvement in bomb explosions which took place in major cities in Khuzestan Province in 2005. Amnesty International believes this man to be 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). In the programme, the 10 people, 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.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that the men may be executed in their home towns and villages in Khuzestan province.

Following a one-day closed trial at a Revolutionary Court in Shadegan in Khuzestan province on 16 November 2006, Abdul Husain Haribi, Husain Maramazi and Husain Asakreh were reportedly sentenced to death, accused of bombing oil pipelines in Khuzestan. Amnesty International does not have any further details about their case.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Much of Iran's Arab community lives in the province of Khuzestan, which borders Iraq. The province 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 the oil 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 were 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, the cycle of violence intensified, with hundreds people reportedly arrested. Further bombings on 24 January 2006, in which at least six people were killed, were followed by further mass arrests. Two men, Mehdi Nawaseri and Ali Awdeh Afrawi, were executed in public on 2 March after they were convicted of involvement in the October bombings. 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. At least 13 other Iranian Arabs are also reportedly under sentence of death, accused of involvement in the bombings, distributing material against the state, having contact with dissident organizations operating abroad, and endangering state security. 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. Please 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 twelve men (naming them) may be in imminent danger of execution;

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

- asking for details of the men's trial proceedings, including the specific charges against them, whether they have been 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;

- 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.or

istiftaa@wilayah.org

Fax: +98 251 774 2228 (mark “FAO the Office of HE Ayatollah al Udhma Khamenei”)

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

Salutation: Your Excellency

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 18 January 2007.