June 30, 2010

Iranian-Kurdish Activist Faces Threat of Imminent Execution

Washington, DC – Zeinab Jalalian, a 27 year old Iranian-Kurdish activist, is reportedly in imminent danger of being executed after being convicted of Moharebeh, or waging war against God, in a trial that has been roundly condemned as unfair and unjust by human rights defenders in Iran and around the world.

Reports indicate that Jalalian’s trial lasted only minutes, she was denied access to a lawyer, and no evidence was presented against Jalalian during her trial.

“The entire case is so full of irregularities that the authorities are obligated immediately to investigate the circumstances of her detention and trial,” said Hadi Ghami, spokesperson for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI). “The life of a young woman hangs in the balance; her execution will be interpreted as another state-sanctioned murder in cold blood.”

Two human rights lawyers have sought to represent Jalalian to no avail, and Iranian authorities continued to prevent Jalalian from having any access to legal council. The denial of such basic rights prompted Joe Stork, deputy Middle East Director at Human Rights Watch to say: “It is absolutely inconceivable that a woman who has been in detention for more than a year and is in danger of imminent execution has still not been granted access to a lawyer.”

The ruthless nature of this case led Zahra Rahnavard, the spouse of opposition leader Mir-Hussein Mousavi, to condemn Jalalian’s situation and question the legitimacy of her sentence: “Has Zeynab Jalalian ever held a gun in her hands? What was her crime? Was it because last year she put pen to paper, created posters and carried them around with her? Will God forgive us for destroying and ending the life of a woman, who embodies compassion and tenderness in every country?”

The ICHRI has also reported that lawyers representing or seeking to represent political prisoners are receiving threats from the Intelligence Ministry and the Judiciary in an apparent effort to silence them from divulging any information about the secret nature of the trials and to evade any accountability.

There are 16 other Iranian-Kurds on death row in the notorious Evin prison facing execution. Their names, according to Human Rights Watch, are Rostam Arkia, Hossein Khezri, Anvar Rostami, Mohammad Amin Abdolahi, Ghader Mohammadzadeh, Habibollah Latifi, Sherko Moarefi, Mostafa Salimi, Hassan Tali, Iraj Mohammadi, Rashid Akhkandi, Mohammad Amin Agoushi, Ahmad Pouladkhani, Sayed Sami Hosseini, Sayed Jamal Mohammadi, and Aziz Mohammadzadeh.




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