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Death Sentences for Five Ahwazi Arabs Upheld by Iran’s Supreme Court

(11 January 2013) – Branch 32 of the Supreme Court of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) has upheld the death sentences of five Ahwazi Arab men convicted of muharibih (waging war against God), ifsad fil-Arz (sowing corruption on earth), propaganda against the Islamic Republic, and acting against national security, according to a source familiar with the case. The five men are: Hashem Shabaninejad (a poet, blogger, and teacher of Arabic literature), Hadi Rashedi (a chemistry teacher), Mohammad Ali Amourinejad (a blogger), Seyyed Jaber Alboshokeh and his brother Seyyed Mokhtar Alboshokeh. The Supreme Court verdict, communicated to the families of the five men on 9 January 2013, was issued by Judges Farajollahi, Gha’em-Maghami, and Lotfi.

According to a source close to the case, the five men, who are all from Khalafabad (Ramshir), were arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security (MOIS) in Spring 2011. The same source indicated that these men were severely tortured. Hashem Shabaninejad is reported to be suffering from psychological disorders as a result of the harsh torture he has endured. Another man, Hadi Rashedi, has suffered a broken pelvis. A different source, who was detained by the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security (MOIS) in Ahwaz during the same period in connection to the same case, reported that he heard the voice of Hadi Rashedi as he was being tortured.

These five individuals have reportedly been forced to make false confessions. Two of the men, Hadi Rashedi and Hashem Shabaninejad, were featured on a TV show on Press TV, the IRI’s English-language satellite channel, confessing to their alleged subversive acts. Reports indicate that all five men gave these confessions under severe physical and mental torture.  Despite serious doubts concerning the validity of these confessions, and despite the reported lack of credible witnesses, the trial court sentenced all five to death in July 2012 after over a year in detention. IHRDC posted a report on these five men after they were convicted. 

Both international law and the Constitution of the IRI prohibit torture and forced confessions. Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Iran has ratified, states, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” In addition, Article 14(3)(g) of the ICCPR expressly states that a prisoner cannot be forced to testify against him or herself or to confess guilt. Article 38 of the Constitution of the IRI prohibits torture for the purpose of extracting confession or acquiring information as well, and declares that all information obtained through torture and forced confessions is invalid.

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Tagged as:

Death Penalty, Ahwazi Arabs