Iran: Mass Executions in the coming weeks – An appeal to the UN and the leaders attending the non-aligned Summit in Teheran

Iran Human Rights, August 23: Iran Human Rights (IHR) warns against the possibility of a new execution wave in Iran in the coming weeks. Several reports from Iran indicate that the Iranian authorities are planning to execute multiple prisoners, among them some political prisoners and some convicted of espionage.

Most of the executions will most likely be carried out following the 16th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit scheduled to take place in Tehran from August 26-31. High-ranking officials from 40 NAM member countries along with observer countries and international organizations like the United Nations are expected to attend.

IHR urges the international community to pay special attention to Iran in the coming weeks. Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson for IHR, said today, “There are several reports indicating that Iranian authorities have scheduled executions for the coming weeks. We are deeply concerned about these possible executions and urge the international community to react before it is too late.” He added, “We specifically ask the UN and leaders of the countries attending the NAM summit to address the issue of the death penalty in Iran.”

There were no reported executions in the Muslim month of Ramadan, which ended on August 20. It is expected that news of executions will emerge in the next month. According to the IHR annual death penalty reports, in the past years, there has been a noticeable increase in executions after Ramadan. In 2011, at least 72 people were executed in the first three weeks following Ramadan.

For the past few months, Iranian authorities have aired several times on state television what they call “confessions” of Iranians involved in espionage and cooperation with Israel. On August 6, state television aired purported confessions by 14 suspects (six women and eight men) in connection with the killing of five nuclear scientists. Some of the people whose “confessions” were aired on state television are: Behzad Abdoli, Firouzeh Yeganeh, Maryam Zargar, Ramtin Mahdavi Moshaie, Arash Kheradkish and Maziar Ebrahimi.

IHR believes that the confessions made by these prisoners were serious enough to put them at risk of execution. In May, another prisoner, identified as Majid Jamali Fashi, was hanged publicly in Tehran after his confessions were aired on state television.

There are other prisoners who are in imminent danger of execution and require urgent attention.

Gholamreza Khosravi, 50, was arrested in 2008 in Rafsanjan, Kerman (southeastern Iran). His initial charge was affiliated with his alleged support of Simay Azadi, a television station linked to the Mujahedin-e Khalgh (MEK or PMOI).

Gholamreza Khosravi was sentenced to death after a second trial in the Tehran Revolutionary Court. He was charged with Moharebeh (enmity against God) for his alleged ties to the MEK. The death sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court on April 21. According to sources in Iran, the execution is scheduled to take place on September 10.

Abdolreza Ghanbari, 44, a teacher, was arrested in the aftermath of the December 2009 Ashura protests. He was sentenced to death based on the charge of Moharebeh for his alleged ties with the MEK. His request for pardon was rejected by the Supreme Court. He may be executed at any time.

Ahmad Daneshpour Moghaddam, 42, and Mohsen Daneshpour Moghaddam, 69, son and father, were also arrested in connection with the Ashura protests. They were charged with Moharebeh, for their alleged ties with the MEK, and sentenced to death. They may be executed at any time.

There are continued concerns about the imminent execution of Saeed Malekpour, 37, a web programmer whose main charges include Moharebeh and Insulting and desecrating Islam. His death sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court in January 2012. He may be executed at any time.

There are also more than 20 Kurdish political prisoners on death row in Iran that may be in danger of imminent execution.

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