Iran: five protesters face "enmity against God" charges, carrying death penalty
At least five protesters arrested in Iran during last week's protests will be tried on charges of "enmity against God," which carries an automatic death sentence if they are convicted. In another sign of an intensified crackdown on dissidents, a Kurdish activist, Fasih Yasamani, 28, was executed Jan. 6 by hanging at Khoy prison in Azarbaijan province, on charges of "enmity against God" and membership in the Kurdish separatist group PJAK, according to the opposition Human Rights Activists News Agency. If true, he was the second Kurdish activist executed in Iran in recent months, following the November execution of Ehsan Fattahian. At least 17 other activists are on death row.
Authorities have also added new charges against seven Bahai leaders detained since 2008, under which they could also face execution, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reported Jan. 7. Twelve other Bahais were detained during the mass arrests that began after the protests on Dec. 27, the statement said. (NYT, Jan. 7; Iranian.com, Jan. 6)
The new charges follow official threats from the Interior Ministry that protesters will face execution.