Saturday, March 22, 2008

Was There Ever A Good Year?

Activists: A Bad Year For Human Rights In Iran:

Tehran, 21 March (AKI) - As Iran celebrated the ancient Persian festival of Norouz to mark the new year, activists reflected on the poor state of human rights in Iran and the high number of executions in the past 12 months.

Mohammad Seifzadeh, an Iranian lawyer who chairs the League of Defenders of Human Rights says more than 300 executions were carried out in the past year.

Student Ebrahim Lotfollahi and Zahra Baniyaghoub, a medical graduate, were found dead in their prison cells, a few hours after being arrested by agents from the intelligence ministry.

According to Zahra's family, the young woman had been raped in prison and killed. She had been arrested in a park with her boyfriend for allegedly committing obscene acts in a public place. Lotfollahi, a student activist , was believed to have died during her interrogation.

One man, Jafar Kiani, had instead been stoned to death after being accused of cohabitating with Mokarrameh Ebrahimi, freed this week after 11 years in prison.

Human rights activists also expressed concern about the high number of adolescents condemned to death.

"After signing all the international conventions on the subject, Iranian judges are condemning young people of 14 and 15 years to death, and then waiting for them to reach the age of 18 to execute them," said Seifzadeh. - Iran: A bad year for human rights, say activists

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