JSalloum on Wed, 15 Sep 1999 06:09:11 EDT

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Syndicate: Iran: Death Sentences

>> (New York, September 14, 1999) -- The head of Tehran's revolutionary
>> Court has announced that  four as yet unnamed people  have been
>> sentenced to death in relation to student demonstrations there last
>> month.  Human Rights Watch today called for the retrial of the four in a
>> public court and with full access to the procedural safeguards set out
>> in international law.  It said trials before the Revolutionary Courts do
>> not conform with international standards for fair trial.
>> The head of Tehran's Revolutionary Court stated on September 11 that
>> four unnamed individuals had been sentenced to death in connection with
>> pro-democracy protests by Tehran University students in July. In an
>> interview with the conservative daily newspaper Jomhouri-Eslami,
>> Hojatoleslam Gholamhossein Rahbarpour said two of the sentences had been
>> confirmed by the Supreme Court.  He also held out the possibility of
>> further death sentences among the "thousand arrested" during the
>> protests.
>> "There are other dossiers with heavy punishments under investigation,"
>> he said.  Speaking about another case involving several members of the
>> Jewish community arrested on charges of spying for Israel, Judge
>> Rahbarpour said that "the courts had evidence that proved their guilt."
>> "The real motive in sentencing these four people to death is apparently
>> to punish them for exercising their rights, to set an example and
>> intimidate Iranian students as they return to classes," said Hanny
>> Megally, the executive director of the Middle East and North Africa
>> Division. In addition he noted that procedures in the Revolutionary
>> Courts fall far
>> short of international standards for a fair trial with defendants being
>> denied access to legal counsel and held indefinitely incommunicado in
>> pre-trial detention.
>> Human Rights Watch said that the evidentiary basis for the detention of
>> those arrested following demonstrations in Tehran and Tabriz, and for
>> the detention of the thirteen Iranian Jews held since March 1999, has
>> never been made public.
>> "We are very concerned that the thirteen members of the Jewish minority
>> may have been singled out for persecution as a gambit in what is thought
>> to be a struggle within Iran's leadership," said Megally.
>> Human Rights Watch called for the judicial authorities to immediately
>> release those against whom no evidence of involvement in criminal
>> activities existed. Others, against whom there is evidence of criminal
>> conduct, should be given fair, public trials with full access to the
>> procedural safeguards required in international law.  This should
>> include the right to communicate with legal counsel of their own choice.
>> Human Rights Watch requested permission to send international observers
>> to attend any forthcoming trials in connection with the above cases.
>> ===================================================
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