Mohammad-Amin Valian

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Age: 20
Location: Undisclosed detention center in Tehran
Charge:Mohareb, conspiracy to undermine national security, spreading propaganda, insulting high government officials
Date condemned: February 2010

We have assembled Contact information and a Sample Letter to Iranian officials regarding Mohammad-Amin Valian's case.

Mohammad-Amin Valian is a 20-year old student activist from Damaghan Science University. He was charged with conspiracy to undermine national security, spreading propaganda, and insulting high government officials and sentenced to death as Mohareb, a religious charge (meaning "warring against God") used by the regime to execute many political and human rights activists. The charge is being used increasingly to condemn post-election protesters and members of the peaceful Green movement. Among his supposed crimes are chanting "Death to the dictator;" statements released by the Central Council of Islamic Association of Damghan Science University, of which he is a member; and arranging debates between two marginal election candidates at the university. The evidence used against him included pictures of him throwing rocks at an Ashura (27 December 2009) protest.

Mohammad-Amin Valian was denied legal counsel, a violation of Article 14(b) and (d) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Instead, he was tried as part of a mass show-trial with sixteen other defendants. An account of his trial was reported on 3 February. During the trial, Valian said he watched "high ranking reformists" on trial during his time in detention. This alone is evidence of pressure or potentially brainwashing and torture in an attempt to control his statement. As of 9 February, his family was unaware of his whereabouts, being told only that Amin was detained in an "exceptional holding center," thought to be an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)-run secret facility. Human Rights Activists in Iran reported on 4 March that Mohammad-Amin Valian has not had any contact with his family since the arrest.

ICCPR Article 6(2) states that the death penalty is only to be imposed for the most severe crimes, if at all. Furthermore, Article 14(5) allows for convicted persons to have their sentences reviewed by a higher court. However, the sham trials employed by the Islamic Republic violate the right to a "fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal," as granted by Article 14(1) and Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The ICCPR protects defendants from coerced confessions and false testimony, Article 14(3)(g). Torture violates Article 5 of the UDHR, as well as Article 7 and Article 10(1) of the ICCPR. These declarations set the norm for international law, and Iran is a signatory of both.

The Green Voice of Freedom blog has helpful ideas to utilize social networking to get the word out about Mohammad-Amin Valian. On March 3, United4Iran also urged people to take action, including changing userpictures on social networking sites; blogging and sharing Mohammad-Amin Valian's story online; and contacting Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi and any other Islamic Regime officials.

Both Green Voice of Freedom and United4Iran are urging anyone with access to Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi to contact him and "inform him of the death sentence and how his statements are being misused by judicial authorities and to cause him to intervene in the matter, in order to prevent further disgrace and shame to the clerical rule in Iran." His website may be accessed here. Shirazi previously issued a statement calling for "all political parties believing in Islam" to condemn the Ashura protesters.

We have assembled Contact information and a Sample Letter to Iranian officials regarding Mohammad-Amin Valian's case. The Greenmail Campaign is an excellent resource and contains a form which sends email to an Iranian Embassy, Consular Office or Commission on your behalf.

Kaleme reported, on 2 March, the student who denounced Valian in Damghan University’s Student Basiji publication is now petitioning for the annulment of his execution sentence.

On March 3 the Green Voice of Freedom reported Ayatollah Mostafa Mohaghegh Damad, a senior cleric and brother-in-law of Judiciary head Sadegh Larijani, is lobbying for Valian's execution to be halted. The same day, Bloggers Against the Death Penalty released a statement calling on the international community to pressure the Iranian government to reverse the unjust sentences given to Valian and other defendants linked to the post-election protests in Iran.

On March 5, the US State Department urged Iran to free Mohammed-Amin Valian in a statement reading, in part, "The United States notes with great concern reports the Iranian courts have upheld a death sentence for 20-year-old university student Mohammad Amin Valian...We find this disproportionate punishment deplorable and urge his immediate release. Furthermore, we join the international community in calling on Iranian authorities to release all political prisoners."