Activists and diplomats slam political executions in Iran


on 1 February 2010

The Iranian authorities have been the target of a constant flow of criticism after the January 28 execution of Arash Rahmanipour (right) and Reza Ali-Zamani (below), two of the 11 people officially sentenced to death for their participation in the opposition “Green Movement”.
Western diplomats slammed the executions amid existing tensions on Iran’s nuclear programme and its repeated violations of human rights against the demonstrators who have been marching since the June 2009 controversial elections. Below are some of the most vocal reactions.
•    White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton says the executions represent a new low in Iran’s crackdown on peaceful dissent and will further isolate Tehran.
•    “The European Union strongly condemns these two executions and expresses its profound concern at the death sentences imposed on persons tried in these mass trials,” said Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs.
•    British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said: “The trials and now these subsequent executions undermine Iran’s claimed commitment to justice, human rights and democratic values.”

“The justice system is used as an instrument of repression”

World Coalition member organisations, too, strongly criticised the hangings of Ali-Zamani and Rahmanipour.
•    Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, spokesperson of Iran Human Rights, said on January 28: “We strongly condemn this morning’s executions and urge the world community to do the same. If the world community doesn’t react strongly now, many of those who have been arrested in connection with the demonstrations will soon be facing execution.”
•    “These executions highlight how the justice system is used as an instrument of repression by the authorities. They are sending a warning to those who may wish to exercise their right to peacefully demonstrate against the government, not to go out in the street,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director.
•    In a statement, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its Iranian member LDDHI wrote: “FIDH and LDDHI firmly condemn the execution of Reza Ali-Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour and express their deepest concern about the fate of the other nine activists condemned to death for similar charges.”
Ali-Zamani and Rahmanipour were found guilty of several crimes including membership of a monarchist organisation and “enmity with God”. According to one of their lawyers, their confession was obtained under duress and their families were not informed of the date of the execution.
Iran-based human rights campaigners reported that a demonstration took place outside Evin prison to protest against politically-motivated executions.
Meanwhile, a fresh group trial involving a new wave of demonstrators was opened and could lead to further death sentences.

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