Three protesters sentenced to death in connection with post-election protests and alleged ties to outlawed opposition groups

Press release

Two days before the observation of the World Day Against the Death Penalty of October 10, 2009, the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran once again demonstrated its lack of respect for international Human Rights standards in regards to the death penalty, and its hostility towards the rights of peaceful protest, freedom of speech and freedom of association. In addition, the execution of Behnoud Shojaï, accused of murder as a juvenile, further concerns the international human rights community.

On October 8, 2009, Mohamed-Reza Ali Zamani, one of over 100 individuals standing trial before Tehran’s Revolutionary Court for fomenting protests following the disputed elections of June 12, became the first person sentenced to death in connection to these events. In addition to charges against him relating to the protests, Zamani is accused of belonging to the Kingdom Assembly of Iran (API), a monarchist group in opposition to Iran’s current regime.

Two others, identified only by their initials, were also sentenced to death. AP, like Zamani, was charged with having ties to the Kingdom Assembly of Iran and NA for ties to the Monafeghin, or the People’s Mujahadeen. Zahed Bashisri Rad, media officer at the Justice Ministry, after announcing the sentences declared that they are not final and still may be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Reliable sources state that it cannot be proven that the three individuals in question were arrested during the course of the protests. It has been confirmed that the Mr. Azmani’s arrest actually took place before the protests of June 12, as may be the case for the other two condemned as well.

"Those sentences are particularly outrageous because they target people who should never have been tried in the first place: their only crime was to exercise their fundamental rights to express their opinion and to participate in peaceful protests", said Karim Lahidji, Vice-president of FIDH and President of LDDHI. "These harsh sentences appear as a signal to all dissenting voices that they should refrain from challenging the regime", he added.

"This is part of the Iranian authorities’ strategy to suppress all independent voices in the country. The arbitrary closure of the major human rights NGOs respectively the Defenders of Human Rights Center in December 2008, and the Organization to Defend the Rights of Prisoners last month are clear illustrations of that strategy", concluded Souhayr Belhassen, President of FIDH.

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