Iran Focus: Tehran, May 09 - Five Kurdish activists, including a woman, were hanged on Sunday in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison.
Tehran, May 09 - Five Kurdish activists, including a woman, were hanged on Sunday in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison.
The Tehran public prosecutor's office in a statement said Shirin Alam-Houli, Ali Heydarian, Mahdi Islamian, Farzad Kamangar, and Farhad Vakili were hanged at dawn.
They were convicted of 'Moharebeh', or 'waging war on God', in 2008 for membership in opposition Kurdish groups, including PJAK, and acting against State security.
Last week opposition websites published the text of a letter by Ms. Alam-Houli, 29, in which she described the abuse she had suffered during her three years in prison.
Ms. Alam-Houli wrote that she had was told last Sunday by Intelligence Ministry interrogators in the prison's infamous Ward 209 that she would only be spared from the death sentence if she took part in a televised 'confession' to denounce her previous activities. “They asked me to repeat what they were saying, and I refused”, she wrote.
According to sources from the town of Kamyaran, where Mr. Kamangar was a teacher for 12 years, hundreds took to the streets to condemn the execution despite a large presence of security forces.
Mr. Kamangar's lawyer, Khalil Bahramian, told Deutche Welle radio that his client had been sentenced to death by the Revolutionary Court during a five-minute trial and denied the due process of law.
Iran observers note that the dramatic hike in the number of hangings, including this morning's executions, reflects growing anxiety among officials over a week of anti-government protests that the opposition has called for beginning 10 June.
Amnesty International says Iran carried out the highest number of executions in 2009 after China. The human rights watchdog recently warned that another political prisoner, Jaafar Kazemi, 47, was at imminent risk of execution for participating in anti-government demonstrations last year and for being in contact with the main Iranian opposition group People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
Last week, Amnesty urged the Iranian authorities to reveal how many Afghan nationals it was holding on death row amid reports 45 Afghans may have been executed in Iran in recent weeks.