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Protestor in Danger of Execution as Iran Flouts Human Rights Standards

(4 March 2010) An Iranian protestor, prosecuted in a post-Ashura trials on charges of Moharebeh, or “enmity against God," is in danger of imminent execution, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today.

The identity of the protestor sentenced to death is not yet certain as the Iranian Judiciary is purposefully refusing to provide accurate information regarding ongoing prosecutions and sentencing. On 9 February 2010, the Iranian Judiciary announced that nine post-election protestors had been convicted: one sentenced to execution and the other eight protestors sentenced to prison.

The news website reported that an appeals court has upheld a death sentence for 20-year old Iranian student Mohammad Amin Valian, who was convicted of the charge of Moharebeh, or “enmity against God” on the basis of photographs showing him throwing rocks during a demonstration.

So far, at least 13 protestors have been sentenced to execution, of whom two have been already executed. The defendants have had no access to internationally recognized standards of justice and due process. They have been denied the right of access to their lawyers. In the cases of the two defendants already executed, Arash Rahmani and Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani, the men were executed in secret without their family or lawyers being notified. The courts are also handing out lengthy prison sentences, up to 15 years in prison, for students, activists, and journalists, following unfair trials.

According to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, the rulings show how the international community’s limp reaction to such egregious violations has emboldened the abuse of Iranian citizens, and a bid by Iran to join the UN Human Rights Council. The Council has shown virtually no inclination to confront Iran about its violent crackdown on human rights. The Council will hold elections in May 2010, and Iran is reportedly seeking election from the Asia regional block, where four seats are open for five contenders.

“We see a direct relationship between the failure of the international community, particularly the UN Human Rights Council, to hold Iran accountable, and such a sentence,” stated Aaron Rhodes, a spokesperson for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

“Iran has received a clear message:  Your atrocities will neither arouse any serious response from the Human Rights Council, nor block your bid for membership in the Human Rights Council,” he said.

The Campaign is calling for the head of Iran’s Judiciary to investigate the case, given that the actions by Valian in no way justify the charge of Moharebeh or his death sentence.

More than 100 Iranian students are apparently in detention for their political activity, while scores of others have been arrested, mistreated, and blocked from further education.

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