Location: Rajaei Shahr Prison
Date condemned: August 2010
Overturned: February 2011
March 2: The death sentence has been overturned and Farah Vazehan is to face a 17-year prison sentence in exile in Rajaei Shahr prison. While her life is not in immediate danger of being taken by the state, she is still a prisoner of the political system.
September 10: Farah Vazehan suffered a heart attack and was transferred to the clinic at Evin Prison and later Modarres Hospital in Tehran.
Farah Vazehan was detained on December 29, two days after she participated in Ashura protests against the regime. She was charged with participating in street protests and sentenced to death as Moharebeh. Moharebeh is the charge commonly used by the Islamic Republic to justify death sentences for political prisoners. There is no moral or legal jusitification for these execution sentences, and Iran is a signatory to United Nations conventions that protect the rights of citizens against arbitrary detention and execution. Farah has been held in detention for seven months and is currently in Evin prison's women's ward. Although it was originally reported that she was sentenced to 15 years in prison, the Human Rights House of Iran received reliable information that she was in fact condemned to die, and her family has reportedly not told her about the execution sentence. After living abroad for years, Farah returned to Iran to care for her 19-year old daughter who is receiving treatment for cancer.
Her death sentence for Moharabeh is likely related to his sister's membership in the People's Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI, also known as MEK, MKO, and others). Her uncle was reportedly executed in the 1980s, most likely for affiliation with the group. Other sources report that Ms. Vazehan was arrested for sending photographs of the Ashura protests to an unnamed "opposition" television station.
Although Article 27 of the Iranian Constitution allows for peaceful assembly, the Iranian authorities continue to arrest, torture, imprison, and execute post-election protesters. In addition to betraying their own laws, the Islamic Republic is refusing to hold up its obligations to international law. Article 9 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) protects citizens from arbitrary arrest. Article 6(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states: "In countries which have not abolished the death penalty, sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious crimes." Farah Vazehan's participation in a peaceful protest does not warrant a death sentence. Neither does her alleged association with the People's Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI, MEK, MKO), which the regime falsely accuses members of the Green movement and other political opponents of in order to levy a death sentence.
We have assembled an sample letter and contact information (updated July 29) to Iranian officials in response to Amnesty International's recent Urgent Action Alert regarding Jafar Kazemi, thought to be at risk of imminent execution.
We also urge you to write to the United Nations on Mr. Kazemi's behalf.
January 9 Jafar Kazemi is reportedly due to be executed this Tuesday, January 11. He is considered in imminent danger of execution, and his family members have urged international human rights activists to advocate for him and save his life.
Jafar Kazemi was arrested after Quds Day protests on 18 or 19 September 2009. He was tried in Branch 28 of Revolutionary Court and sentenced to death for Moharebeh, or "enmity against God" and can be executed at any time. His lawyer has had limited access to Jafar. Although she filed an appeal with the Judiciary, the sentence was upheld and finalized on 28 April and will be forwarded to the Implementation Unit. Kazemi was charged and convicted of "propaganda" against the Iranian regime and harshly interrogated and pressured in prison to make a televised confession, which he refused. In a letter to the UN's secretary general urging the UN to take action, Kazemi's wife describes his brutal treatment in prison.
Jafar Kazemi's conviction and death sentence is likely a direct result of two things: his participation in the 18 September Quds protests, and his son's affiliation with PMOI, also known as MEK or MKO. Jafar Kazemi should not be held responsible for his son's affiliation, and political views are never justificiation for execution.
Jafar Kazemi's case is laden with rampant human rights violations. His arbitrary arrest and detention are violations of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Forced confession, which authorities tortured him to obtain, is a violation of of the ICCPR. Torture itself is a violation of Article 5 of the UDHR and Articles 7 and 10 of the ICCPR. Jafar's lawyer has stated that she has limited access to him and was not even permitted to see him to exchange Power of Attorney documents. Article 14(3)(d) of the ICCPR guarantees the right to defense through an attorney of one's own choosing. Finally, Article 6 of the ICCPR declares that, in countries where the death penalty has not been abolished, the death penalty is to be imposed only for the most serious crimes. Nothing in Jafar Kazemi's case justifies this murderous act.
Amnesty International has issued an Urgent Action item regarding Jafar Kazemi's death sentence and the imminent danger to his life.
On 21 May, Amnesty International confirmed there was an immediate threat to Mr. Kazemi's life and noted, "Ja’far Kazemi is now known to be among six men facing execution in Iran for their alleged links to the banned group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI). In some cases, these links may amount to no more than having contact with family members linked to the PMOI. The six could be executed at any time."