May 10, 2010

NIAC Condemns Iranian Executions Ahead of Election Anniversary

Washington, DC – The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) condemns in the strongest possible terms the execution of five political prisoners on May 9 by the Iranian government. Evidence suggests that these individuals were tortured to force false confessions, did not receive fair trials, and that their executions were politically motivated and timed to coincide with the run up to the one year-anniversary of Iran’s disputed June 12 elections.

NIAC urges the United States and the international community to publicly and proactively press Iran to refrain from escalating its campaign of repression ahead of the anniversary of the June 12, 2009 elections. The international community holds a collective responsibility to address the human rights crisis in Iran. NIAC is deeply concerned that the focus on the nuclear issue has proved an obstacle to carrying out this international responsibility to provide protection for Iranian victims. NIAC calls on the United States and others in the international community to turn their attention to the human rights situation in Iran as a matter of real urgency.

The May 9 executions follow a pattern in which Iranian authorities have issued threats and carried out executions ahead of anticipated anti-government protests. The execution of these five individuals indicates that Iranian authorities are continuing to utilize executions as a means to intimidate and deter would-be demonstrators. Previously, four individuals were executed under similar conditions prior to 22 Bahaman, February 11, when large protests were expected.

Among those executed on May 9 was Farzad Kamangar, a teacher and social worker whose trial took place behind closed doors and lasted only seven minutes; according to his lawyer, no evidence was presented against Mr. Kamangar. The other four individuals executed were Shirin Alam Holi, Ali Heidarian, Farhad Vakili and Mehdi Eslamian. The families of the individuals were not alerted by authorities prior to the execution.

Since the disputed 2009 elections and subsequent protests, thousands of Iranians have been detained and at least thirteen individuals have been sentenced to death for their role in the protests. Eleven of these individuals are still alive but could face execution at any moment.





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