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    Posted August 1, 2010 by

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    Post-election protesters in imminent danger of execution in Iran


    “My name is Roudabeh Akbari. I am a housewife, married to the political prisoner Jafar Kazemi, and a mother of two children…The interrogator has told my husband that “we need to sacrifice a few in order to save the regime and your name has been drawn as one of them.



    My husband was arrested on September 18, 2009 at 6:00am on Haft-Hoz Street in Tehran. We did not hear from him for two weeks. He was tortured for three days and then placed in solitary confinement for 74 days under harsh conditions…”


    This is a letter from condemned prisoner and post-election protester Jafar Kazemi's wife to the United Nations. Jafar Kazemi and five others are among those in imminent danger of execution for protesting against Iran’s regime. On July 31, Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, the Tehran prosecutor, told Mr. Kazemi’s family that his execution will definitely be enforced.


    Jafar Kazemi is 47 years old, married, and has two children. He is a lithographer for academic books and illustrations at Amirkabir University. Kazemi is also a witness in the 1988 mass execution of political prisoners. He was arrested on September 18, 2009 for participating in protests following the fraudulent June 12 Presidential election.  Although he was not charged with any violent crime, he was sentenced to death as Moharebeh.  He was repeatedly tortured in prison to make a televised confession, but refused.


    Along with Mr. Kazemi, Abdolreza Ghanbari, Mohammad-Ali Haj-Aghaie, Ahmad Daneshpour Moghadam, his son Mohsen Daneshpour Moghadam, and Mohammad Ali Saremihave been sentenced to death as “Moharebeh” (meaning armed war with God).  Their sentences have been confirmed by the court and are awaiting enforcement.  The executions could happen at any time.


    Mohammad Ali Haj Aghaei, like Jafar Kazemi, was arrested after the September 18th protests. Abdolreza Ghanbari, a teacher from Ghiamdasht, was sentenced to death for the supposed crime of chanting “Death to the dictator” in the December 27 Green Movement Ashura protests. Ahmad Daneshpour and his son Mohsen were also arrested after the Ashura protests. Ali Saremi is 62 years old and has been arrested at least four times in the last 30 years. He is being denied medical care and access to his medication.


    In her letter, Kazemi’s wife says: “At the end of the initial trial, during which judge Moghiseh sentenced him to death, the judge remarked that he was under pressure at that time by higher authorities to rule in this fashion. During the second trial, the court did not even look at the defense statement, and in a two-line ruling, upheld the death sentence.”


    Though five of the six were arrested following post-election protests, the regime claims they are all connected with the People's Mujahedin of Iran (known as MKO, PMOI, or MEK).  All six are likely to be victims of the regime’s attempt to reassert its authority. 


    When Jafar Kazemi’s family met with the Minister of Justice, he told them that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is the only one who can legally pardon Mr. Kazemi.  Based on the Minister of Justice’s statement, the Iranian Supreme Leader decides on death sentences for political prisoners and is directly responsible for Jafar Kazemi and the other prisoners’ lives.


    Mr. Kazemi’s lawyer, Nasim Ghanavi, said her client’s appeal was never seriously considered and the charges against him have no merit.  Though the “Moharebeh” sentence is a religious one for armed resistance against the state, the Iranian regime continues to use it against political prisoners, even when the charges have no basis.  These executions are crimes against humanity and must be stopped.

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