Iran Human RightsIranian author, poet sentenced to death for human rights...

Iranian author, poet sentenced to death for human rights work

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Clarion Project: Arzhang Davoodi, an Iranian human rights activist has been sentenced to death by the regime after 11 years imprisonment. Neither he, nor his lawyer  were permitted to be present at the court when the verdict was handed down. His crime was allegedly being a member of the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI), the main opposition group to the Iranian regime.

 

The Clarion Project

Arzhang Davoodi, an Iranian human rights activist has been sentenced to death by the regime after 11 years imprisonment. 

The Iranian regime has sentenced to death Arzhang Davoodi, a writer and poet. He was sentenced by the Revolutionary Court on the charge of moharabeh,  “enmity against God.” 

Neither he, nor his lawyer  were permitted to be present at the court when the verdict was handed down. His crime was allegedly being a member of the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI), the main opposition group to the Iranian regime.

However, according to Amnesty International, Davdoodi has no connection to the group. The London-based charity issued an urgent appeal regarding the case, stating, “He has no links with the PMOI or any armed groups. He is believed to have been accused of having ties with the PMOI merely because in prison he insisted on calling PMOI by its official name, Mojahedin, rather than by the term used by the Iranian authorities, Monafeghin (hypocrites).”

According to Iranian law, a person cannot be executed on the charge of moharabeh merely for peaceful political activity. Rather, that charge is only reserved for those who are members of armed groups and have participated in armed activity. Yet, Davoodi has never taken up arms against the Iranian state.

He has written a letter from prison personally to the UN Secretary General demanding an official investigation into his sentence. 

He wrote: “The sentence in all these court cases that have been lead to this unjust sentence are in contradiction to the United Nations Charter and  also the regime’s constitution. Therefore I would like the impartial international jurists review them as an example so that once again be clearly proven that to what extent the words and actions of the ruler’s in Tehran contradict each other.”

Iran has been stepping up executions recently. On June 1, 2014, Gholamreza Khosravi Savadjani, a political and human rights activist, was executed following charges of moharebeh. Human rights organizations have criticized the West for allowing desire for progress over nuclear talks to take precedence over concern for Iran’s flagrant human rights abuses. 

Along with Amir Abbas Fakhravar, Davoodi co-founded the Confederation of Iranian Students which has around 10,000 members worldwide. It has been a major organization in the student resistance to the Iranian regime and campaigns against theocracy and in favor of a democratic transition.

According to its official website, “The Confederation of Iranian Students (CIS) is a pro-Western, independent student movement of over 10000 members with student federations in Iran, the United States, England, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Austria and Turkey. It is the largest International Iranian student movement active both inside and outside of Iran.”

Fakhravar was himself arrested in 2004.

Members of the CIS in Europe have been instrumental in pushing for increased sanctions against the Iranian regime in order to prevent it from gaining access to nuclear weaponry.

Many of its members and leadership have been arrested and tortured by the Iranian regime, including Amir Abbas Fakhravar.

Davoodi, 61, was born in the city of Abadan and has an engineering degree from the University of Texas in Ausin. He has been imprisoned for the last 11 years after first being arrested in 2003 for criticizing Iran’s human rights record in a documentary film titled Forbidden Iran. The film investigated the death in suspicious circumstances of Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian-Iranian photojournalist. Human rights activists say that she was raped multiple times and tortured to death by the Iranian regime.

The regime said that she died of a stroke while in custody.

During his time in prison, Davdoodi has suffered torture, beatings and solitary confinement and was denied access to basic hygiene products and kept in unsanitary conditions. Amnesty International regards Arzhang Davoodi as a “prisoner of conscience” and is calling on the Iranian regime to release him immediately.

Commenting on this ruling, Soona Samsami, Representative in the United States for the coalition opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said, “The death sentence against Mr. Davoodi, a violation of the regime’s own penal code, reflects before all else that any expectation of moderation on the part of mullahs is a mirage and that the regime has zero tolerance for any form of dissent as it is terrified of an increasingly enraged populace.” 

“Regrettably, the international community’s silence and inaction vis-à-vis the dramatic rise in executions and intensified crackdown on citizens in Iran since Hassan Rouhani became president has emboldened the regime in its brazen disregard for universally-recognized and fundamental human rights of the Iranian people,” she added.  Samsami called on the United Nations and the United States to compel the regime to halt the execution of Mr. Davoodi.

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