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Stop the illegal political executions by the coup regime in Iran

 

Updates

 

August 16 In an interview with Rooz Online, Abdolreza Ghanbari's wife, Sakineh Jabeiee, denies the news of her husband's imminent execution and says she and her children are hopeful that his appeal will be successful. Ms. Jabeiee was able to meet with her husband on Monday, August 15 and says his case is still before the Appeals and Clemency Commission. She further goes on to ask concerned activists not to spread false rumors of his connection with the MEK and suggests the group may be exploiting Mr. Ghanbari's case for their own agenda. English translation of the interview and the original Persian-language version are available.

Note: While it is our policy not to politicize the cases of condemned political prisoners, Stop the Executions has refrained from updating these last few months due to the uncertain situation surrounding impending executions. The politicization of these cases by outside groups is not helpful to those prisoners who may otherwise benefit from international publicity and support. The Islamic Republic of Iran has begun to increase its practice of executing prisoners without having to resort to a noose, which would bring international attention to their crimes. Instead, they continue to deny medical treatment to political and other prisoners, who often develop serious medical conditions as a result of torture, neglect, and overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. There are a number of reliable sources for these stories, which is why we do not include them in our updates. As a result of this and the ongoing politicization of death penalty cases, Stop the Executions will unfortunately continue to update infrequently.

August 13 Abdolreza Ghanbari's appeal for clemency has been rejected and the case has been forwarded to the implementation division of the Revolutionary Court. He is considered in imminent danger of execution and the sentence may be carried out at any time.

May 17 The Supreme Court has confirmed Habibollah Latifi's death sentence and it has been forwarded to the implementation stage. Habibollah Latifi is in imminent danger of execution and the sentence may be carried out at any time.

May 2 Ahmad Saeed Sheikhi, Sherkoh Moarefi's lawyer, has confirmed that his client is indeed in imminent danger of execution.

April 11 Sherkoh Moarefi's mother, family and lawyers have denied the rumors about his impending execution. They said, "This news that has hit the media is rumor. Why they do it? Do they know that when we see the news every moment and every day for us is death? You know how our lives are drawn to destruction? Why do you play with our lives?"

March 24 Although the sentence had been suspended there are reports that Kurdish activist  Sherkoh Moarefi is now due to be executed again. His date of execution has been set for May 1, 2011.

March 10 The Human Chain Project held its first global event on March 5th in 10 cities across the globe. Human Rights advocates and freedom-loving people from different nationalities joined hands and formed Human Chains, demanding the abolition of Death Penalty, unconditional release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience and a moratorium on current wave of executions in Iran.

March 2 Farah Vazehan's death sentence has been overturned and reduced to a 17-year sentence in exile in Rajaei Shahr prison. While her life is not in immediate danger due to execution, we still believe that the charges against her have no merit and her prosecution is politically-motivated.

February 4 An interview with Sakineh Habibi, wife of Abdolreza Ghanbari has been published. She has asked for help from the international community: "I request from everyone to not allow a cultural activist and an unknown teacher be executed for the crime of being alone and not having anyone [of influence around]." There is a petition for his life and Persian2English will be organizing future action.

January 29 Dutch-Iranian citizen Zahra Bahrami was executed without warning this morning. The Dutch government has summoned its Iranian Ambassador and frozen ties with Iran. Furthermore, it advises its Dutch-Iranians not to travel to Iran.

January 24 Iranian state TV, quoting the Tehran prosecutor's office, has confirmed that Jafar Kazemi and Mohammad Ali Haj Aghaei were executed this morning in an undisclosed location.

January 15 Multiple sources are reporting that Hossein Khezri was executed this morning. It is important to note that, while a Kurdish political prisoner was executed at Oromiyeh Prison, it has not been confirmed to be Khezri. 

January 13 Hossein Khezri's family is still unable to find information about his whereabouts or condition. Authorities have told them simply that he was moved to Tehran for the completion of his sentence. They fear he may have been secretly executed.

January 10 Editor's note: As is typical with human rights reporting in Iran, there is some confusion about whether or not Jafar Kazemi, Mohammad Ali Haj Aghaei and others are scheduled to be executed tomorrow. However, we stress that all of the condemned prisoners are not only in danger of being executed at some point, but they are in prison for political reasons and subject to intimidation and torture. Their rights are violated daily, whether they are in imminent danger of execution or not.

January 9 Reports state that both Jafar Kazemi and Mohammad Ali Haj Aghaei are due to be executed on Tuesday, January 11.

January 6 Hossein Khezri's brother and other family members were able to visit him in Oromiyeh Prison yesterday. According to an interview, it was staged as a final visit and prison authorities told them that he will be moved and "this is the last time you will ever see him." The family is, of course, concerned that Mr. Khezri is in immediate danger of execution.

Jafar Kazemi's sentence was sent to the enforcement division. The sentence can be carried out at any time and is considered in imminent danger of execution.

January 5 As expected, Judge Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court has sentenced Zahra Bahrami to death for the transport and sale of drugs. According to reports, she is also charged with Moharebeh, which can carry the death penalty as well. She has denied all charges against her and said that she only confessed under torture in Evin Ward 209.

Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal said in a statement, "I am extremely concerned about the situation...[and] insist on information, the possibility to provide her with consular assistance, and a fair course of justice." Iranian authorities are still refusing to allow Bahrami Dutch consular access, as they do not recognize her dual citizenship.

January 3 There is still no information about the whereabouts of condemned prisoner Hossein Khezri.

January 2, 2011 Condemned Kurdish prisoner Hossein Khezri has been removed from Oromiyeh Prison agents from the Intelligence Ministry. He is considered in extreme danger of imminent execution.  Although the exact reason for his cell extraction is not known, this is typical before a scheduled execution.


Video courtesy of @shariatmadari.

December 29 Ali Saremi's body has been moved from Evin to Kahrizak Detention Center in southern Tehran. Eight members of Ali Saremi's family and friends have been released, apparently after pledging that they would not return to demonstrate outside of Evin Prison. His nephew, Mohammad, was reportedly arrested today after hanging a photograph of his murdered uncle outside his home, which is a traditional sign of mourning.

A letter from Zeynab Saremi to her executed father: My dearest father, I wish to know whether you felt our presence behind the walls of Evin!

Another site reports that some members of Habibollah Latifi's family have been released, but this has not yet been independently confirmed.

December 28 11:30 am: Authorities have arrested Saremi's family members and others who were staging a demonstration outside of Evin Prison this morning. Among those arrested are Poya Saremi, Mahin Saremi, Ali Saremi's daughter and her husband. Family members of other political prisoners are also reported to be arrested.

9:30 am: HRANA confirms the execution of 62-year old Ali Saremi this morning at Evin Prison.

3:30 am: Ali Saremi and Reza Boukani's families have gathered outside of Evin Prison. Reports state that Saremi's cellmates fear he was taken to Evin to be executed.

December 27 9:25 pm: Condemned prisoner Ali Saremi has been transferred from Gohardasht (Rajaee Shahr) prison to an unknown location. Another condemned man, Reza Sharifi Boukani, has also been moved to an unknown location.

9:00 pm: Concerns are growing over Habibollah Latifi and his family's condition. The names of twenty people arrested at the family home last night have been released. They include Iraj Latifi Abbas, Enghbal, Shahin, Elahe and Bahar Latifi. There is still no confirmation of the family's whereabouts or condition.

7:45 am: Authorities are arresting others in the community who have been helping the Latifi family in recent days. In the meantime, his lawyer has returned to Tehran.

6:25 am Tehran time: Reports from sources, including Radio Farda, now include Habibollah Latifi's sister-in-law among those arrested last night. His youngest sister, who was not arrested, said that agents used pepper spray to subdue her and render her unconscious for several hours. She told RAHANA that eight family members have been arrested and she does not know their location or the reasons for their arrests.

United4Iran has updated their eLetter to push for Mr. Latifi's release.

Other ways to help include: contacting media and signing the two existing petitions. Activists also encourage everyone to share the news widely on their existing networks.


December 26 Reports have emerged that Habibollah Latifi's family members have been arrested at their home. There are also unconfirmed reports that local activists have been arrested. There is conflicting information as to the number of family members arrested, but early reports suggest that his brother, two sisters, father, and another person at the house are among those detained. Up to 30 security officials conducted the raid and confiscated the family's computer and other materials.  Drewery Dyke, Amnesty International's Iran Researcher, has also confirmed the arrests.

December 25 Thanks in part to the actions of protesters and activists in and outside of Iran, Habibollah Latifi's execution has been stayed.

December 23 Urgent: Kurdish prisoner  Habibollah Latifi is in imminent danger of execution. His lawyer confirmed reports that he is due to be executed this Sunday, December 26, in Sanandaj prison.

December 9 Zahra Bahrami is expected to go on trial this Sunday, December 12 in front of Judge Salavati in branch 15 of the Revolutionary Tribunal. Judge Abolghasem Salavati is known as the "Hanging Judge" or the "Judge of Death." Salavati was responsible for the execution sentences of Abdolreza Ghanbari, Mehdi Eslamian (executed May 9, 2010), and at least 12 others. He also sentenced the Alaei brothers to years in prison for AIDS research and called Majid Tavakoli, "Miss Tavakoli" at his trial.

December 7 Dutch citizen Zahra Bahrami was transferred from the general women's ward to the methadone ward Evin Prison where she is housed with general criminals and addicts.

December 5 Concerning development: condemned Kurdish prisoner Habibollah Golparipour was transferred to Oroumiyeh prison. His death sentence was upheld by the supreme court on September 5, and the prison transfer is a sign that authorities may be preparing to implement the execution order.

December 1 Updated information on Zainab Jalalian's medical situation: reports state that she requires treatment for her eyes, but prison authorities are denying her this, saying it is not necessary because she is on death row. Her eye problems are likely a result of long-term torture sustained in prison.

November 21 Mohammad Reza Haddadi is being denied necessary kidney surgery until his father pays the exorbitant fees required by prison authorities.

Zainab Jalalian is reportedly ill and being denied medical treatment.

November 19 Amnesty International has issued an urgent action statement (PDF) for Kurdish prisoner Hossein Khezri. Amnesty urges people to write to the Iranian authorities and appeal for Khezri's life.

November 17 Urgent: The Supreme Court has issued a memo to Oromiyeh Prison officials ordering Hossein Khezri's execution. The enforcement unit of the prison has asked for permission to carry out the order. He is in imminent danger. Furthermore, his attorney resigned under suspicious circumstances this morning.

November 7 Amnesty International has called for the immediate commutation of all death sentences in the Islamic Republic of Iran. They also urge "authorities to review and repeal death penalty laws [and] to disclose full details of all death sentences and executions."

November 6 There is an English translation of Hossein Khezri's letter. In it, he documents brutal interrogation and torture and appeals to human rights organizations and lawyers "to accept my request and be my voice to humanity." Khezri says, "I will attempt to report to the world some of the situation to which I am still subject, in hopes that there be someone to hear my voice."

November 5 Condemned Kurdish prisoner Hossein Khezri is asking that human rights organizations and the United Nations to appeal for his life. We have created a sample letter to send to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations.

News Archive



Sample Letter on Behalf of Hossein Khezri

Please write to Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for the Office of Human Rights; Amnesty International; and Human Rights Watch fulfilling Hossein Khezri's request to act on his behalf and asking for his sentence to be overturned and a new, impartial trial to be held, with access to legal counsel, protection from coerced confessions and no possibility of execution. A sample letter you can use, or modify, follows.

To:

Subject: Condemned Political Prisoner Hossein Khezri Appeals to Human Rights Organizations

Dear Name,

I am writing to you regarding the case of Hossein Khezri (also written Khazri or Khazari), a Kurdish political prisoner in Iran at imminent risk of execution. Mr. Khezri has asked human rights activists and organizations to appeal for his life. Mr. Khazeri is charged with Moharabeh and sentenced to death due to an alleged membership in Kurdish opposition parties.

Mr. Khezri did not receive adequate legal representation, as guaranteed by UN conventions. The judicial proceedings erroneously called a "trial" by the Islamic Republic consisted of a 7-or-8-minute appearance in court when the verdict was read. Although his lawyer was present in court at this time, Mr. Khezri was not permitted a defense statement or any other form of adequate legal representation.

Mr. Khezri was subjected to torture during the early months of his detention, which is an abhorrent violation of the UN Convention Against Torture, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory. The Islamic Republic is also choosing to ignore another important responsibility, the one that states any nation still resorting to execution as a barbaric method of punishment is to reserve the practice only for the most extreme cases. Iran is violating Article 6(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) by condemning Hossein Khezri to death for membership in Kurdish opposition groups.

Likely as a result of his torture and the deplorable conditions in prison, Hossein has developed serious medical problems. On 7 May, Iran Human Rights Voice reported that he is being denied medical treatment and has lost nearly 25% of the vision in his right eye. Mr. Khezri is also being denied access to legal representation. Unbelievably, Iran is a signatory to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which declares, "Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him." The ICCPR also protects the right to legal representation.

I urge you to speak publicly for Mr. Khezri's life and that his execution sentence is immediately overturned, as membership in a political organization is not justification for execution. Hossein Khezri should be granted a new trial with adequate legal representation and free from coercion, as demanded by international laws to which Iran is a signatory.

Sincerely,

Your Name

UN Letter for Mohammad Ali Haj Aghaei

Please write to Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for the Office of Human Rights and Ban Ki-Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations regarding Mohammad Ali Haj Aghaei in danger of imminent execution in Iran, demanding an immediate halt to his execution. A sample letter you can use, or modify, follows.

from Persian2English.

Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for the Office of Human Rights

Email: npillay@ohchr.org, sg@un.org

CC: urgent-action@ohchr.org, inquiries@un.org, info@reachingcriticalwill.org, inforequest@wilpf.ch

Fax: +41-22-917-9008 (Geneva) +1-212-963-4097 (NY)

His Excellency Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations

Tel: 1-212-963-7160, 61, 62

Fax: 212-963-7055

You can send a free online fax here.

Your Excellency,

We, the undersigned, demand the immediate halt to the execution order issued to Mohammad Ali Haj Aghayari. The sentence is entirely illegal.

There is no evidence that Mohammad Ali Haj Aghayari has committed any ‘crime’ and lawyers say all he did was join the mass protests again the Iranian regime on Ashura.

Also, like Jafar Kazemi, Mohammad Ali Haj Aghayari has not had access to independent legal assistance and was restricted from seeing his family during his prosecution.

The Iranian regime’s judiciary reaffirmed the death sentence for Mohammad Ali Haj Aghayari, a political prisoner charged with supporting the People’s Mujahedin-e Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). We as the people from the global community call on the UN Secretary General, Security Council, High Commissioner for Human Rights and all human rights organizations to take urgent measures to save the lives of Mohammad Ali Haj Aghayari and other political prisoners.

[signature]

Please copy to the following media addresses:

nightline@abcnews.com, 2020@abc.com, evening@cbsnews.com, earlyshow@cbs.com, 60m@cbsnews.com, 48hours@cbsnews.com, ftn@cbsnews.com, info@cnbc.com, dateline@nbcuni.com, hardball@msnbc.com, joe@msnbc.com, nightly@nbc.com, today@nbc.com, newshour@pbs.org, ombudsman@npr.org, city@thestar.ca, readers.rep@latimes.com, letters@latimes.com, letters@nytimes.com, Bruce.Wallace@latimes.com, Mark.McGonigle@latimes.com, news-tips@nytimes.com, foreign@nytimes.com, nytnews@nytimes.com, editor@usatoday.com, wsj.ltrs@wsj.com, letters@washpost.com, ombudsman@washpost.com, letters@newsweek.com, letters@time.com, letters@usnews.com, info@ap.org, tips@upi.com, red@berlingske.dk, redaktion@faz.de, redactie@volkskrant.nl, ole.erik.almlid@aftenposten.no, bjorn.hedensjo@dn.se, redaktion@tages-anzeiger.ch, foreign.news@thetimes.co.uk, robert.tait@guardian.co.uk, simon.jeffery@guardian.co.uk, redazione.tg5@mediaset.it, redazione.studioapertorm@mediaset.it, skytg24.redazione@skytv.it, segreteria_roma@repubblica.it, roma@lastampa.it, esteri@liberazione.it, segreteria@unita.it, lorenzocairoli@hotmail.com, redazione@ilmanifesto.it, nadiapizzuti@gmail.com, nadia.pizzuti@ansa.it

We also urge you to appeal for the other 5 prisoners at risk of imminent execution.

UN letter for 6 prisoners in danger of imminent execution

Please write to Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for the Office of Human Rights and Ban Ki-Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations regarding the six prisoners in danger of imminent execution in Iran, asking for their sentences to be overturned and their unconditional release. A sample letter you can use, or modify, follows.

Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for the Office of Human Rights

npillay@ohchr.org

Fax: +41-22-917-9008 (Geneva) +1-212-963-4097 (NY)

His Excellency Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations

Fax: 212-963-7055 (You can send a fax for free online here), Tel: 1-212-963-7160, 61, 62

You can send a free online fax here.


Dear Ms. Pillay/Mr. Ban Ki-Moon:

I am writing to you regarding the cases of six political prisoners on death row thought to be in danger of imminent execution. On August 1 it was announced that their death sentences, upheld by the Appeals Court, had been sent to the Enforcement Division.

Abdolreza Ghanbari, a 42-year old teacher from Ghiamdasht, in Varamin, was sentenced to death on charges of Moharebeh based on his supposed crime of chanting "Death to the dictator" during the 2009 Ashura protests.  He is presumed to be held in Evin Prison. 

Jafar Kazemi was arrested on September 18, 2009 in connection with the post-election protests and, though not accused of any violent act, was sentenced to death as Moharebeh and for “propaganda about the system” due to his participation in Qods protests and son’s involvement with the People's Mujahedin of Iran (MKO, PMOI, or MEK). He was harshly interrogated and pressured in Evin prison to make a televised confession, which he refused.

Mohammad Ali Haj Aghaei is presumably being held in Evin Prison in Tehran.  He was also arrested on September 18, 2010 and sentenced to death as Moharebeh for connections with MEK and propaganda against the Iranian government.

Ahmad Daneshpour and his son, Mohsen, were also arrested after Ashura protests and are sentenced to death for alleged ties with MEK.  Their death sentences were upheld by an appellate court in April and they are presumed to be detained in Evin Prison.

Ali Saremi, age 62, has been arrested at least four times in the last 30 years.  Mr. Saremi was sentenced to death on 29 December 2009 after being detained for 28 months. He is currently held in Ward 4 of Raja’i Shahr Prison, also known as Gohardasht, in Karaj.  Mr. Saremi is also being denied proper medical treatment and access to his necessary medications.

Many or all of these prisoners were denied access to legal counsel and a fair trial, and were likely subjected to physical and psychological torture in the attempt to obtain a coerced confessions. Jafar Kazemi's wife has described his brutal treatment in prison in her own letter to the United Nations. Their convictions and death sentence is likely a direct result of two things: participation in public protests against the regime, and in some cases, the connections of family members with the People's Mujahedin of Iran. These prisoners should not be held responsible for their relatives' affiliation, and political views are never justificiation for execution.

Given the above, I ask that you use any means in your power to obtain the following for these six men:

- if any imminent executions are planned, that they be immediately halted;

- for their death sentences to be overturned on the grounds that they were not granted a fair trial with access to legal counsel and protection from torture and coerced confessions;

- that they be granted new trial if charges against them remain, with access to legal counsel, a public hearing by an impartial tribunal and protection from torture or coerced confessions as laid out in the ICCPR (International Covenant on Civil and Politicial Rights) and UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

- if no valid charges remain, that they be immediately and unconditionally released from prison.

We also request that you:

-urge the Iranian authorities to commute all death sentences in Iran, including any imposed in connection with the post-election protests;

-remind the Iranian authorities that the ICCPR, to which Iran is a state party, states that the death penalty can only be carried out for “the most serious crimes”, which the Human Rights Committee has clarified must be “intentional crimes with lethal or other extremely grave consequences."

These six cases has been forwarded to the implementation stage and we are concerned about the imminent risk to these men's lives. We ask that you force the Islamic Republic of Iran to comply with international law and norms, abide by treaties that the UN places its name on, and act to save their lives.

Yours sincerely,

Your name


We also urge you to appeal to Iranian authorities.

UN letter for Jafar Kazemi

Please write to Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for the Office of Human Rights and Ban Ki-Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations regarding Jafar Kazemi's case, asking for his sentence to be overturned and his unconditional release. A sample letter you can use, or modify, follows.

On 30 April 2010, Amnesty International released an Urgent Action Alert regarding Jafar Kazemi, a death-row prisoner in Iran believed to be at risk of imminent execution. Please write to the following officials using regarding this case (please refer to him as "Jafar Kazemi, son of Bahman" in your appeals, as this will help the authorities to identify him) as follows. You can use our sample letter or write your own:

Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for the Office of Human Rights

npillay@ohchr.org

Fax: +41-22-917-9008 (Geneva) +1-212-963-4097 (NY)

His Excellency Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations

Fax: 212-963-7055 (You can send a fax for free online here), Tel: 1-212-963-7160, 61, 62

You can send a free online fax here.


Dear Ms. Pillay/Mr. Ban Ki-Moon:

I am writing to you regarding the case of Jafar Kazemi, a Iranian political prisoner sentenced to death for participation in protests following the June 12, 2009 Presidential elections, and at risk of imminent execution.

Mr. 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 Mohareb, or "enmity against God" and can be executed at any time. His lawyer has had limited access to Jafar. Although his lawyer filed an appeal with the Judiciary, the sentence was upheld and finalized on 28 April 2010 and sent to enforcement on 29 July. Mr. Kazemi was charged and convicted of "propaganda" against the Iranian government and was 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 described 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.

Given the above, I ask that you use any means in your power to obtain the following for Jafar Kazemi:

- if an imminent execution is planned, that it be immediately halted;

- for his death sentence to be overturned on the grounds that he was harshly interrogated and tortured;

-that he be granted a new trial if charges against him remain, with access to legal counsel, a public hearing by an impartial tribunal and protection from torture or coerced confessions as laid out in the ICCPR (International Covenant on Civil and Politicial Rights) and UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

-if no valid charges remain, that he be immediately and unconditionally released from prison.

We also request that you:

-urge the Iranian authorities to commute all death sentences in Iran, including any imposed in connection with the post-election protests;

-remind the Iranian authorities that the ICCPR, to which Iran is a state party, states that the death penalty can only be carried out for “the most serious crimes”, which the Human Rights Committee has clarified must be “intentional crimes with lethal or other extremely grave consequences."

Jafar Kazemi's case has been forwarded to the implementation stage and we are concerned about the imminent risk to his life. We ask that you force the Islamic Republic of Iran to comply with international law and norms, abide by treaties that the UN places its name on, and act to save his life.

Yours sincerely,

Your name


We also urge you to appeal to Iranian authorities.

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