The NY Times reports that Mohammad-Ali Zamani and Arash Rahamipour were hanged before dawn for their suspected role in the April 2008 mosque bombing in Shiraz, Iran. The mosque bombing killed 13 people and left 200 others wounded. 9 others were also found guilty of “moharebeh”, or being enemies of God, as they were arrested in the midst of the December Ashura protests.
This is being viewed as an attempt to frighten protesters before the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Republic on February 11, where anti-government rallies are to be expected.
“Following the riots and anti revolutionary and foundation-breaking actions of last few months, especially on the day of Ashura, Tehran’s revolutionary court has sentenced 11 people to death,” the semiofficial ISNA news service reported.
Amnesty International further reports that Iran is second to China in rate of executions; President Ahmadinejad’s execution rate has nearly quadrupled, from 86 in 2005, the year he initially took office, up to 346 in 2008. Human rights groups additionally report that over 115 have been killed since the disputed June presidential elections and Ahmadinejad’s August inauguration.
Notably, Zamani and Rahamipour’s family members state that the two were arrested before the election, and were not involved in the post-election protests.
In an interview in October with the Rooz Online Web site, Mr. Rahmanipour’s lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, said that his client was actually arrested in late March or April. “He has nothing to do with the election or the post-election events,” Mr. Sotoudeh said at the time. “They tried to create fear when he was arrested and even arrested his pregnant sister.”
Adding to the confusion of Mr. Alizamani’s arrest, some Iranian news sites report that he was detained before the protests. Regardless of the causes of arrest, the executions are seemingly intended as defense; the Iranian governments is apparently gearing itself for another round of opposition come February 11th.Back to top