Enduring America has reported that five men have been sentenced to death for participating in the post-election protests. The five men are listed as: Mohammad Reza Ali-Zamani, Arash Rahmanipour, Hamed Rouhinejad, Naser Abdolhosseini and Davoud Mir Ardebili. The conviction of the first four men, and the fact that Mr. Ardebili is a defendant in the same trial, has been reported on other websites. However, it has been difficult to find confirmation of Mr. Ardebili’s conviction outside of the Enduring America article and some Twitter feeds.
The first four men were accused by the Iranian judiciary of “being involved in post-election violence…they had effective membership in banned opposition groups.” Contrary to the government’s position, one report suggests that,
essentially none of the aforementioned individuals had any ties with the violent incidents and post-election events or had any effective membership in the mentioned organizations.
Mr. Zamani and Mr. Rouhinejad and Ahmad Karimi, who has not yet been convicted, apparently attempted to emigrate to the West by traveling into Iraq in mid-2006. The three men were unable to gain visas to continue onto any western countries, and in 2008, after a seventeen-month stay in Iraq, they returned to Iran. It was during their stay in Iraq that Mr. Zamani apparently made contact with Anjoman Padeshahi Iran (API); however, API has denied ever having contact with Mr. Zamani.
It has been reported that the men, along with six others, were arrested in May 2009, and taken to the infamous Ward 209 of Evin Prison. It is unclear what charges the government leveled at the nine men. Security forces ended their interrogations of the prisoners around the time that the post-election protests were beginning. Apparently Mr. Rahmanipour, one of the six other people arrested, and Mr. Zamani agreed to make “false confessions in return for their freedom,” but were tricked by the government and sentenced to death.
Unlike the previous three men, Naser Abdolhosseini was arrested after the start of the election protests. He was charged with being associated with the banned group Mojahedin-e-Khalgh, but his family denies that Mr. Abdolhosseini was ever associated with the organization. There are reports that Mr. Abdolhosseini was not actually in Tehran when the protests were occurring, and was arrested after returning home. A man identified as his brother, Mojtaba, has stated that,
My brother was told that if he made televised confessions, his sentence would be reduced. They told him televised confessions would reduce his prison term and he would be released before the end of his term. They deceived him into making televised confessions, but contrary to what he was promised, they sentenced him to death. They took advantage of Naser and played with his life.
While the above information is subject to further verification, it does provide a tentative view of the behind the scenes machinations of the Islamic Republic. If true, then these reports raise the question of how many other prisoners currently on trial not only confessed under duress, but were never actually associated with the election protests and are simply political prisoners of opportunity.Back to top