Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Guardian: Iran 'executes Kurdish activist'

Ehsan Fattahian, charged with being an 'enemy of God', had admitted membership of a banned opposition group

Ian Black, Middle East editor

Iran has reportedly executed a Kurdish political activist charged with being an "enemy of God", ignoring pleas from international human rights groups for his
death sentence to be revoked.
Ehsan Fattahian, 27, was hanged today in the western city of Sanandaj, according to Ali Akbar Gharoussi, head of the judiciary in Kurdistan province.
Mowjcamp, an opposition website, cited lawyer Mohammad Mostafai as saying there was no evidence that Fattahian had engaged in violence, as charged. Fattahian admitted membership of the banned Kurdish opposition group Komeleh and said he was tortured for three months. His initial 10-year jail sentence was changed to death by a higher court.

Ezzatollah Fattahian, the defendant's father, told Human Rights Watch that prison officials had prevented the family from visiting his son in prison for the past three months.
Iranian opposition activists have warned that the death sentence was part of an effort by the government to crush unrest following last June's disputed elections, in which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed victory.
Amnesty International had warned before news of Fattahian's hanging that two other Iranian Kurdish men were also feared to be at imminent risk of execution, while at least 10 other men and one woman were believed to be on death row in connection with membership of and activities in support of proscribed Kurdish organizations.
Sanandaj is the capital of Iran's Kurdistan province and in an area which has seen frequent clashes between Kurdish guerrillas and Iranian security forces.
Like neighbouring Iraq and Turkey, Iran has a large Kurdish minority. Iran rejects western accusations of discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities and has often accused the US, Britain and Israel of supporting terrorist attacks by Baluchi and Arab separatists.

Last month, an explosion in the southern province of Sistan-Baluchestan killed at least 41 people, including senior commanders of the Revolutionary Guards. The Baluchi group Jundullah took responsibility for the bombing.

"The Iranian regime is trying to intimidate ethnic minorities from joining the Green Wave," Komeleh leader Abdullah Mohtadi told al-Arabiyya TV, referring to the movement led by Mir Hossein Mousavi, who claims to have beaten Ahmadinejad in the elections. "One of the methods to deter people is stricter sentencing in ethnic provinces such as Kurdistan, Baluchestan and Ahwaz."
Amnesty lists Iran as the world's second most prolific executioner in 2008 after China, and says it put to death at least 346 people last year.

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