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Iran executes a poet and another activist of the Arab minority

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A new case of executions in Iran revives debate over the use of capital punishment to silence political dissidents, particularly among ethnic minorities. According to the Center for Documentation of Human Rights in Iran (IHRDC in the acronym), a poet and defender of human rights and other Arab activist were executed in late January accused of being " enemies of God ", without informing its lawyers or allow a final visit their families. According to that organization, go 55 death sentences executed this year and 300 since the arrival of Hasan Rohani for president last August.

IHRDC identified the latest victims as Hashem Hadi Rashedi Shabaninejad and two teachers Ramshir town in Khuzestan. The first was a popular local poet and human rights activist, that according to the pan-Arab network Al Jazeera criticized the treatment of the Arab minority in Iran. Arabs represent only 3% of the nearly 80 million Iranians, but half the population of the border with Iraq oil province.

Shabaninejad, 32, had founded Al Hiwar (Dialogue, in Arabic), a center for the dissemination of Arabic culture closed by the authorities in 2005 and was also a member Rashedi. He was arrested three years ago on charges of being a " mohareb " a legal concept without equivalence in international law usually translated as " enemy of God" and is punishable by the death penalty. International human rights organizations believe that a catch is to silence political dissidents.

A year later, Shabaninejad appeared on PressTV, the Iranian English string that is broadcast via satellite, confessing his involvement in " separatist terrorism ". In July last year, a revolutionary court sentenced him to death along with 13 others, among which were also Rashedi and three other members of Al Hiwar, for " an enemy of God, spread corruption on earth, propaganda against the Islamic Republic and acting against national security ". His transfer from prison last December Amnesty International warned about the risk of imminent execution.

The doubts raised by the Iranian judicial system, in this case adds the claim that those responsible have not even followed its own laws. According IHRDC, Rashedi Shabaninejad and were executed on 27 January, but were not told their families until two days later. " The procedure code specifies that defense counsel must be notified at least 48 hours in advance and that the defendant has the right to receive visits before his execution," complains the organization.

That fact and the fact that families could only hold the funeral in their homes for 24 hours, rather than in a mosque and during the three days is usual, reinforcing the idea of the political nature of his case. Four other members of the Arab minority were executed a month earlier.

Last year Iran executed them 624 people, a hundred more than in 2012, which has raised concerns from human rights organizations. In fact, contrary to expectations, the choice of Rohani has not resulted in less use of the death penalty. In contrast, several organizations report an increase IHRDC and says that since taking office in August at least 300 people have been through the gallows. These data make Iran the country with the highest number of executions per capita. The UN special rapporteur for Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, has called on the authorities to curb its application.

Most are linked to drug trafficking. But advocacy groups for human rights claim that the death penalty is also used to silence political dissent, particularly among ethnic minorities. Among those executed in November, said the Kurdish activist Sherko Moarefi also mohareb and accused of belonging to the leftist Komala group that Tehran considers terrorist. A month earlier, 16 described as " rebels" prisoners were executed in retaliation for the deaths of 14 guards in an ambush in the province of Sistan - Baluchistan.

 Tags: activist, Arab, executes, Iran, minority, poet

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