Date: Sat, 25 Sep 1999 01:35:09 +1000 From: Lynette Dumble <l.dumble-AT-hps.unimelb.edu.au> Subject: [GSN] URGENT - HELP prevent student executions in Iran Dear sisters, The following from Women Living Under Muslim Laws is an urgent appeal to prevent the execution of four unnamed Iranian students, alleged to have been involved in the Teheran student protests of July 1999. The four students have been condemned to death behind closed doors, in the absence of any defence attorneys, and in violation of the rules of evidence, and may preempt further executions amongst a further 700 students arrested on the same charge, all of whom have since been held in communicado, and without release of their names. Please support by emailing the first letter below to Hojjatoleslam Seyyed Mohammad Khatami, The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and faxing the second to Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamanei, The Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran. [Please note that the second letter is drafted for those responding from Muslim countries and communities, and should be amended if necessary]. With thanks, Lynette. =========================From: wluml-AT-mnet.fr Women Living Under Muslim Laws Femmes sous lois musulmanes International solidarity network Réseau international de solidarité BP 20023 34791 Grabels Cedex France email address: wluml-AT-mnet.fr 24/9/99 Dear friends, Please find enclosed the urgent alert for action we sent out yesterday, with more background information today. In solidarity WLUML Chers amis, chères amies, Veuillez trouver ci-joint l'appel à action urgente que nous vous avons envoyé hier, avec aujourd'hui plus d'informations sur la situation contextuelle. En solidarité WLUML ______________________________ URGENT ALERT FOR ACTION - URGENT ALERT FOR ACTION - URGENT ALERT FOR ACTION - 23 September 1999 IMMINENT EXECUTION OF FOUR IRANIAN STUDENTS SENTENCED TO DEATH Dear Friends, We have just received two appeals from Iranian friends regarding the pronouncement of death sentence on four Iranian students. THERE IS A REAL DANGER THAT THESE STUDENTS WILL BE SUMMARILY EXECUTED IF WE DO NOT MOUNT PRESSURE TO STOP THIS. Of particular importance is that voices from within the Muslim world be heard on this matter, though of course, all our voices count and make a difference. We urge you to immediately send letters to the addresses given below. In solidarity Farida Shaheed WLUML APPEL ACTION URGENTE - APPEL ACTION URGENTE - APPEL ACTION URGENTE 23 septembre 1999 EXECUTION IMMINENTE DE QUATRE ETUDIANTS IRANIENS CONDAMNES A MORT Chers amis, chères amies, Nous venons de recevoir deux appels d'amis iraniens concernant la prononciation de peine de mort envers quatre étudiants iraniens. Il Y A UN DANGER RÉEL À CE QUE CES ÉTUDIANTS SOIENT SOMMAIREMENT EXÉCUTÉS SI NOUS NE FAISONS PAS PRESSION AFIN D'ARRÊTER CES EXÉCUTIONS. Il est très important que des voix venant du monde musulman se fassent entendre sur cette affaire, bien que, de toute évidence, toutes nos voix comptent et feront la différence. Nous vous demandons instamment d'envoyer des lettres de protestation aux adresses données ci-dessous. En solidarité Farida Shaheed WLUML ____________________ The background The four students that have been sentenced to death were allegedly involved in the student demonstrations in Tehran in July this year. According to reports all the more than 700 students arrested have been kept incommunicado. The names of these students and the other 700 persons arrested are unknown. Nor have the names of those four students sentenced to death been made known. The Iranian Revolutionary Court condemned these students to death behind closed doors, in the absence of any defence attorneys and in violation of the rules of evidence. According to an interview of Hojjatoleslam Gholam Hossein Rahbarpour, the head of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, in the newspaper "Jomhuri-ye Eslami" on the 12th September 1999, the Supreme Court has upheld the death sentences of two of the students. He further said that more death sentences for the students arrested might be expected. Please find attached information received by us from the Iranian Human Rights Working Group and a group of Iranian university professors and researchers. Please write expressing your deep concern to the addresses given below, to the Iranian Embassy in your country and to the Iranian Permanent Mission at the United Nations. Please find attached two sample letters, the first one to be sent to Hojjatoleslam Seyyed Mohammad Khatami, The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the second one to Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamanei, The Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Please note that this second one is drafted for those responding from Muslim coutries and communities and should be amended if necessary. First sample letter: Hojjatoleslam Seyyed Mohammad Khatami The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran: The Presidency, Palestine Avenue Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran Fax: 98 21 64 66 415 - Telegrams: President Khatami, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran - Email: iranemb-AT-salamiran.org Your Excellency, The whole world has been shocked by the Iranian Revolutionary Court's verdict of 12 September 1999 condemning to death four individuals who participated in the July 1999 student protests in Tehran. The timing of the verdict on the eve of the opening of the universities seems intended to create an atmosphere of terror amongst students. The four individuals were sentenced to death behind closed doors, in the absence of defence attorneys and in violation of rules of evidence. If these four individuals are sent to the gallows, it will amount to judicial murder. This would be a gross violation of the principles of justice and in particular the principles enshrined within the Islamic justice system. The Islamic Republic's own constitution also provides that "everyone has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a fair trial." Moreover, we are deeply concerned that while these students have not even had a fair trial, those government agents who a year ago ordered and carried out a series of political killings have not yet been brought to justice. The vigilantes who violently attacked the dormitory at Tehran University and caused the death of Ezzat Ebrahim-Nezhad, among others, have not yet been arrested. Yet these four student protestors have been sentenced to death for chanting slogans. Your Excellency, the international community remembers your pledges to stand against injustice. We understand that you have made a formal objection to the court's decision and greatly appreciate this stand. We therefore strongly urge you to use your high office to prevent this gross injustice. We urgently request you to: 1) Immediately commute the death sentences of the students that have apparently been issued and approved by the Supreme Court; 2) Order the immediate release of the names of the four sentenced and all others who have been arrested in relation to the July demonstrations; 3) Ensure that there is a fair trial in accordance with the basic principles of Islamic and international justice; 4) Ensure the immediate release of all those held for their peaceful participation in the demonstrations. We also urge you to undertake measures to bring Iran's legislation in line with the minimum standards for fair trial laid down in Article 14 of the International Convenant on Civil and Political rights, to which the Islamic Republic of Iran is a state party. Yours sincerely, XXXXXXXXXXX * * * Second sample letter: Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamanei The Leader of the Islamic Republic The Presidency Palestine Avenue Azarbaiijan Intersection Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran Fax: (via Interior Ministry, ask for fax to be forwarded): 98 21 650 203 The Honourable Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamanei: On September 12, 1999, Iran's revolutionary court sentenced to death four students on charges of participating in student protests in July. Given the well documented reality that cases take several years to be heard and judged, such harsh and quick sentencing of the four students has shocked the entire world, especially much of the Muslim world who follow events in Iran and the national struggle to carve an independent space for itself. The circumstances indicate that the rushed judgement on the eve of the opening of the universities has created the impression that the sentencing is meant more to instill terror than to administer law and justice. The situation is even more astonishing given that those vigilantes and police officers who ordered and carried out the ill-advised attack on the student residence, causing the death of Ezzat Ebrahim Nezhad and injuring many others, are still at large despite your expressed position on the matter and the report of the investigating committee. Given the importance that Islam and Iranian culture has attached to justice and fairness, it is most unsettling to see such a public case in the eyes of the world carried out behind closed doors and in such manner. This development is particularly discouraging for us Muslims who are trying to correct the tarnished images of Islam constructed over decades of colonialism. We therefore request that you personally intervene to re-open the case and insure an open and fair trial. We also wish to remind your honour that the eyes of millions of well-wishers are closely following this case and are sincerely hoping your intervention will correct the injustices Sincerely XXXXXXXXXXX * * * Addresses Leader of the Islamic Republic: His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed 'Ali Khamenei, The Presidency, Palestine Avenue Azerbaijan Intersection Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran Fax: (via Interior Ministry, ask for fax to be forwarded): 98 21 650 203 Head of Judiciary: His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi, Ministry of Justice Park-e Shahr Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran Telegrams: Head of the Judiciary, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran Fax: 98 21 646 5242 His Excellency Kamal Kharrazi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdolmajid Keshk-e Mesri Avenue Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran Fax: 98 21 674 790 Minister of Culture: His Excellency Mr Mohajarani Ministry of Culture, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran Fax: 98 21 8757845 Mr Mohammad Hassan Zia'i-Far Secretary, Islamic Human Rights Commission PO Box 13165-137 Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran Fax: 98 21 204 0541 In lieu of an embassy: Iranian Interests Section 2209 Wisconsin Avenue NW Washington DC 20007 USA Tel: (202) 965-4990 - 5 Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations 622 Third Ave. New York, NY 10017 USA Tel: (212) 687-2020 - Fax: (212) 867-7086 - E-mail: iran-AT-un.int * * * Statement by the Iranian Human Rights Working Group - IHRWG concerning the death sentences issued to four student activists, which along with 1400 others, were arrested in connection with the July demonstrations at Tehran university where students were attacked by members of vigilante groups and the law enforcement officers. It is with deep regret to hear that the Islamic Republic's head of The Revolutionary Courts has announced the issuance of death sentences for four students arrested in the July unrest in Tehran University. In an interview with the newspaper 'Jomhuri-ye Eslami' on September 12th, 1999, Hojatoleslam Gholamhossein Rahbarpour, the head of Tehran Revolutionary Court, announced the death sentences against the four and stated that two of the sentences had already been approved by the Supreme Court. He suggested that more death sentences might be expected for more than 700 students arrested in the July uprising. He neither gave the names of those sentenced nor the details of charges against them and trial proceedings. Press reports and interviews with relatives, attorneys and friends of the arrested students have indicated that no due process of law has been practiced. They have been kept incommunicado since their arrests, and have been "tried" in closed courts in the absence of lawyers. Three of those arrested after the July demonstrations have appeared on state television "confessing" to their involvement with "counter-revolutionary agents", an activity punishable by death in Iran. Any conviction or sentence based on "confessions" under such circumstances would violate Article 11 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that; "Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial in which he has had all the guarantees for his defense." Historically, such confessions are extracted from detainees by torture, which is widespread in the Islamic Republic and is generally conducted by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence with cooperation of the judicial system. According to international laws and the Islamic Republic's constitution "everyone has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a fair trial". The right not to be compelled to testify against oneself or to confess guilt is fundamental to this presumption of innocence. We are calling for the immediate commutation of the death sentences that have apparently been issued and approved by the Supreme Court, and the urgent release of the names of the four sentenced and the rest who have been arrested in relation to the July unrest. We further ask for fair re-trial of the four who are sentenced as well as the immediate release of all those held for their peaceful participation in the demonstrations. It is worth noting that recent events followed debates in the past few weeks on death penalty in Iran which included accusing abolitionists of apostasy, a crime that can be punished by death in the Islamic Republic. In this regard a newspaper has even offered a $33,000 prize for the head of Dr. Hossein Bagher Zadeh - our chair - for stating the group's views on capital punishment in 'Neshat' newspaper in Iran. 'Neshat' was later closed by a judge's order as a result. Iranian Human Rights Working Group (http://www.ihrwg.org) launched a campaign against death penalty in Iran in December of 1997 and has collected hundreds of signatures from Iranian individuals and organizations since then. The list of supporters of this campaign can be viewed at our web site at http://www.ihrwg.org/CP. While Iranian Human Rights Working Group joins all international Human Rights organizations in categorically condemning death penalty, we express our outrage over recent treatment of students and intellectuals. We strongly urge the Iranian government and president Khatami to intervene in this unjust process and to take steps towards implementing the promised reforms in order to bring the country's legislation in line with minimum standards for fair trial laid down in article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a State Party. Iranian Human Rights Working Group September 22, 1999 * * * Letter written by a group of Iranian University professors and researchers His Excellency Mr. Mohammad Khatami, The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran: On September 12, 1999, Iran's revolutionary court condemned to death four individuals who participated in the July 1999 student protests and this has shocked the entire world. The court's rush to judgement comes on the eve of the opening of the universities, and it is meant to instill terror. In contrast to the harsh and quick sentence meted to the students, those government agents who fully one year ago ordered and carried out a series of political killings have yet to be brought to justice. What is more, those vigilantes who violently attacked the dormitory at Tehran University and caused the death of Ezzat Ebrahim-Nezhad, among others, have been neither arrested nor tried. And this despite Ayatollah Khamenei's position on the matter and the report of the investigating committee. Everyone is aware that the revolutionary court's decision was taken behind closed doors, without the presence of defense attorneys and rules of evidence, and was politically biased. Where in the civilized world today are university dormitories attacked, students injured and killed, and student protestors sentenced to death because they chanted slogans, even if those slogans are harsh?! Mr. Khatami, if these executions are carried out and you allow yourself to observe this outrage from the sidelines, twenty million Iranians who voted for you will never forgive you. Nor will the world remain indifferent to the Islamic Republic's performance. Mr. Khatami, those who gave you a vote of confidence will not abide by the harsh and inhumane action of the revolutionary court. The Iranians who believed your speeches about confronting pressure and injustice will be alienated and will completely lose all hope that the system can be reformed. Mr. Khatami, if these executions take place, it will be very difficult for the entire world to distinguish between you and those elements who seek to continue their despotic and monopolistic rule by continually creating crisis. In that case, there would be no alternative for the world but to take some action against the Islamic Republic. Mr. Khatami, we, a group of Iranians university professors and researchers abroad, expect you to decisively and openly prevent these horrific crimes. And if, in spite of your formal objection to the court decision, these inhumane executions took place, you must invite all of the twenty millions who voted for you to come to the streets and show their horror and disgust. This is a very sensitive and decisive moment for your government, for the future of Iran and Iranians, and for your historical role. September 13, 1999.
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