The Struggle continues!

The Struggle continues!

June 12, 2010

FEARS OF MORE POLITICAL EXECUTIONS IN IRAN, from the June 1-15, 2010 issue of People's Voice

(The following article is from the June 1-15, 2010 issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading communist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $30/year, or $15 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $45 US per year; other overseas readers - $45 US or $50 CDN per year. Send to: People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 706 Clark Drive, Vancouver, BC, V5L 3J1.)

The British-based Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People's Rights (CODIR) has condemned the May 9 execution of five political prisoners accused by Iran's theocratic regime of actions against "national security" and "links with counter-revolutionary groups". Neither the families or lawyers of the five were aware of the executions in Tehran's Evin prison, and the bodies had still not been released about two weeks later.

Opposition forces say the charges against the five victims were fabricated by the regime to justify harsh treatment, including execution, of its political opponents.

Farzad Kamangar was arrested by Ministry of Intelligence officials along with two other members of the Kurdish minority, Ali Heydariyan and Farhad Vakili, in Tehran around July 2006. The three were sentenced to death after being convicted of "moharebeh" (enmity towards God), a charge levelled against those accused of taking up arms against the state, in connection with their alleged membership of the armed group, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The trial took place in secret, lasting only minutes. The death sentences of all three men were upheld by the Supreme Court. Also executed were Mehdi Eslami and Shirin Alam Hooli.

All five victims had repeatedly rejected the allegations of being involved in terrorist activities. In the case of Farzad Kamangar, a teacher and journalist, his main "crime" was that during a short visit to Tehran he had stayed in the house of Heydaryan and Vakili, whom he knew. The authorities alleged that they had discovered explosive materials from a car belonging to Heydaryan and Vakili.

Shirin Alam Hooli, a 28-year-old Kurdish woman, was sentenced to death for her alleged support for PJAK, a militant opposition group. Convicted of "enmity against God", she was repeatedly subjected to torture and degrading treatment. She had no access to legal representation, and her rights as an accused were never observed.

Jamshid Ahmadi, Assistant General Secretary of CODIR, condemned the action of the Iranian regime in executing these political detainees.

"Fearing the eruption of a new wave of popular protests on the first anniversary of the fraudulent presidential election of 12 June 2009, the regime has attempted to inculcate a climate of fear and terror in Iran," he said. "The regime's rush to execute these prisoners, in the face of international concern about the sharp deterioration in the human rights situation over the past year, is a disgrace."

Iranians inside and outside the country and progressive forces all over the world have protested the executions. There was a general strike in Iran's Kurdistan province on May 13 to condemn these killings, as four of the victims were of Kurdish background.

The executions raise serious concerns about the fate of other political prisoners in Iran. Jailed labour activists and teachers include Mansour Osanloo and Ebrahim Madadi, leaders of the Tehran Bus Workers' Union (Vahed Syndicate), and teachers like Abdolreza Ghanbari (who has been sentenced to death), Seyed Hashem Khastar, Rasoul Bedaghi, Abdollah Momeni, Mahmoud Beheshti Langeroudi, Ali Akbar Baghani, Mohammad Davari, Alireza Hashemi, Hossein Baastaninejad, and Ghorban Ahmadi (according to the Iranian Teachers' Trade Association). Hundreds of students, women's rights', human rights' and political activists are in prisons across Iran.

Labour organizations elsewhere have also expressed their outrage, from Education International to the International Metal Workers' Federation. In Canada, protests have been sent by the Canadian Teachers' Federation, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, and others.

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