Foreign Policy Blogs

And the Ignominious Trials Continue

Last week as the world buzzed with discussions about whether President Obama deserved the Nobel Peace Price or not, a grave human rights injustice was taking place in Iran.  Three protesters arrested for demonstrating against the disputed June reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have been given the death penalty.

The Amnesty International has a press release detailing the plight of one of these protesters:

Mohammad-Reza Ali-Zamani, the first person to be sentenced to death in connection with protests following disputed presidential elections.

Zamani, 37, was sentenced to death by a Tehran Revolutionary Court on Thursday after he was convicted of “enmity against God for membership of and activities to further the aims of the terrorist grouplet Anjoman-e Padeshahi-e Iran (API)”.

The API is an exiled opposition group which advocates the ending of the Islamic Republic and the establishment of an Iranian monarchy.

He was also convicted of “propaganda against the system”, “insulting the holy sanctities”, “gathering and colluding with intent to harm national internal security ” as well as of leaving the country illegally to visit Iraq where he was alleged to have met US military officials.

Zamani is one of more than 100 people currently standing trial before a Tehran Revolutionary Court for fomenting protests against the disputed official result of Iran’s 12 June presidential election. Amnesty International has condemned such “show trials” as a “mockery of justice”

Amnesty International also expressed fears that Zamani’s death sentence will pave the way for more death sentences against those being tried on similar offences.

Here is a list from the New York Times of some of the people still in the Iranian custody:

Among those who remain in detention are Maziar Bahari, a filmmaker and reporter for Newsweek, and Shapur Kazemi, the brother-in-law of Mir Hussein Moussavi, who the opposition claims won the election. Mr. Kazemi, 62, is a respected telecommunications engineer and is known for his activities in technical and economic fields rather than for political activism.

Others who are still being held include the former vice president, Mohammad Ali Abtahi; Muhammad Atrianfar, a publisher and confidant of the former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani; Mostafa Tajzadeh, a deputy interior minister in the reformist government of the former president Mohammad Khatami; Saeed Leylaz, an economist and former government official; and the journalist Isa Saharkhiz, who according to Iranian news reports suffered broken ribs during interrogation.

Student activists being held include Abdullah Momeni, a former spokesman for the student group Iran Alumni Association, who confessed in court. Mr. Momeni’s wife says he had been badly tortured, according to Iranian news reports.

Iranian authorities have also launched a special investigation into prominent cleric Mehdi Karroubi — a revered figure from Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution and a reformist candidate in the disputed 2009 election– over his accusations that security forces raped and tortured protesters.

As Iran continues to make a mockery out of its judicial system, here is a cartoon from the Watch Me Confess Blog highlighting the ridiculousness of these trials:

Facebook Appears in Iranian Trials to Confess

After multiple mentions by Iranian officials of Facebook as being one of the criminal elements behind the post-election unrest, Facebook personally appeared in the latest round of trials today to confess. Iranian bloggers who took a picture of Facebook confessing uploaded the picture online:

The caption reads:

Parts of Facebook’s confessions in today’s trials:

I killed Neda Agha Soltan. Social sciences are really bad too! Mousavi is an American, he has written things in me that are anti-revolutionary, same with Karroubi, I’ll give you the names of all the greens that are my members, and right now an enormous spiritual transformation has occurred in me. I have a gentle interrogator that continuously increases my bandwidth!

 

Author

Sahar Zubairy

Sahar Zubairy recently graduated from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas- Austin with Masters in Global Policy Studies. She graduated from Texas A&M University with Phi Beta Kappa honors in May 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. In Summer 2008, she was the Southwest Asia/Gulf Intern at the Henry L. Stimson Center, where she researched Iran and the Persian Gulf. She was also a member of a research team that helped develop a website investigating the possible effects of closure of the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf by Iran.

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