UN urges Iran not to execute Ahwazi activists

A group of independent UN human rights experts on Friday urged Iran to stop the execution of five Ahwazi activists. UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran Ahmed Shaheed stated that the execution of Mohammad Ali Amouri, Sayed Jaber Alboshoka, Sayed Mokhtar Alboshoka, Hashem Shabain Amouri and Hadi Rashidi is unacceptable. They have been sentenced on charges of enmity against God, corruption, and propaganda against the government.

Shaheed  reasoned that individuals should not be sentenced to death “for exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, association, opinion and expression, and affiliation to minority groups and to cultural institutions.” Another expert stressed that because Iran is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Iranian government is obligated to respect the rights it is currently infringing upon. The statement came amid a ruling by the Supreme Court of Iran upholding the death sentences against the five individuals. The activists were arrested in 2011, and there have been allegations that they were subject to torture and other ill-treatment while in detention.

Iran’s human rights record has been under international scrutiny. In October Shaheed stated in a report to the UN General Assembly that the Iranian government is torturing human rights activists and threatening the activists’ families with rape or death. In the same month the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) urged the country to halt all executions because the government had failed to provide the accused with fair trials and due process of law. In June three UN Special Rapporteurs condemned  Iran for executing four members of the Ahwazi Arab minority without providing them fair trials. The three UN Special Rapporteurs further stated that there is no transparency to Iranian court proceedings and that the death penalty should be reserved for only the most serious of crimes. In November 2011 the UN Human Rights Committee issued a statement expressing concern about the protection of individuals’ rights in Iran, including the frequency of the use of the death penalty. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran in January 2011 claimed that Iran is on an “execution binge,”  killing one prisoner every eight hours.

From Jurist, Jan. 28. Used with permission.

See our last post on Iran’s civil opposition.