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Iran activist sentenced to death for election protests

          fran activist sentened to death for election protests World news guardia... http://www.guardiaii.co.uk/worldJ2009/oct/08/rnohamrnad-reza-ali-aniarii...
          Iran activist sentenced to death for
          e'ection protests
          Regime's opponents say forced confession was used to convict
          Mohammad-Reza Ali-Zamani
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          Iran activist senteired to death for election protests World news guardia ,.. http://wwwguardian.co.ulc/world/2009/oct/08/nrlianiniad-reza-a li-anianL . .
          Robert Tait
          guardian.co.uk, Thursday 8 October 2009 23.19 BST
          A hrzerknSr
          The first death sentence has been passed against a defendant accused of involvement in
          the mass protests in Ira n against President Mahmoud Ahmadinej ad's disputed
          re-election, prompting fears of a wave of executions against opposition activists.
          A revolutionary court in Tehran handed the penalty to Mohammad Reza Ali-Zamani,
          37, after convicting him of muhabereh — taking up arms against Iran's Islamic system.
          The sentence was imposed after he confessed to working for a lithe-known exile group,
          the Iran Monarchy Committee, which Iranian officials describe as a terrorist
          organisation. Prosecutors alleged that he plotted political assassinations with US
          military officials in Iraq before returning to Iran “aiming at causing disruption during
          and after the election”.
          Ali-Zamani admitted guilt during a series of public mass trials that began in August in
          which scores of senior pro-reformist politicians confessed to fomenting the unrest that
          followed Ahmadinejad's victory. Opposition leaders condemned the events as “show
          trials” and say defendants were tortured to force them to confess. Human rights
          campaigners today challenged Ali-Zamani's conviction and warned that it paved the
          way for further politically driven executions.
          “It's not a good omen,” said Hadi Ghaemi, of the International Committee for Human
          Rights in Iran. “If this is the trend of sentencing then it spells really bad news that we
          should expect more political executions along these lines. That's why this verdict has to
          be protested right now both inside and outside Iran.”
          More than 100 people arrested in the upheaval remain in custody, including prominent
          supporters of the defeated reformist candidates, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi
          Karroubi, who insist the election was stolen.
          Unlike many others in detention, Ali-Zamani is not well known. His indictment said he
          had joined the Iran Monarchy Committee after hearing about it on a television satellite
          channel. His activities are said to have included distributing anti-regime CDs and
          propaganda, as well as copies of the Satanic Verses.
          Ali-Zamani was accused of meeting an American called Frank in the Iraqi city of Irbil
          and passing information about conditions inside Iran in exchange for money. He was
          also alleged to have received instructions on how to build a chemical weapon from a
          fellow member of the IMC. Another part of the indictment alleges that he met two US
          military officers named “Mike and Robert” and gave them information on Iranian
          officials who had allegedly been targeted for assassination.
          Prosecutors claimed that Ali-Zamani — who they say had a criminal record for forging
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          Iran activist sentenced to death for election protests World news guardia... http://www.guardian.couk/world/2009/octIO8/mohaniniad-reza-ali-amani...
          revolutionary guard and judicial stamps — took pait in an operation, called Salman, in
          which he gave the IMC information on members of the hardline Basij volunteer militia.
          They said he had conducted “vast communication activities” inside Iran before being
          arrested by intelligence officers.
          The allegations were dismissed by the IMC, which is run by Iranians living in Europe
          and the US. Iran has previously accused the group of being behind a bombing in a Shia
          religious centre in Shiraz last year that killed 15 people.
          A committee spokeswoman, Dordaneh Fouladvand, confirmed that Ali-Zamani had
          worked with the organisation but insisted he had played no role in the post-election
          protests. His activities had been limited to working for its radio station, Radio Tondar,
          she said.
          “We are surprised by the confession he has made in couit. He has given it under
          pressure and we strongly deny all he has said,” Fouladvand said. “He had absolutely no
          links with the Americans and hasn't been involved in any operations inside Iran. His job
          was simply to pass on news for our radio station and to make broadcast packages.”
          Ghaemi said Ali-Zamani's arrest may have happened before the election, raising the
          possibility his execution verdict had been passed to deter further protests. “What is
          significant is that the indictment makes clear that before he could engage in any action,
          he was arrested by the intelligence ministry,” he said.
          “The text shows that there is no action or crime that they can tie him to.”
          guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2009
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