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Iran Hangs Trade Unionist and 4 Civil Rights Activists

By • May 12th, 2010 • Category: Headline


Farzad Kamangar: EI Outrage at Iranian Teacher’s Execution

Education International is deeply troubled to hear reports that Iranian teacher trade unionist Farzad Kamangar was among five people who were summarily executed in secret on 9 May.

Farzad Kamangar, a 35-year-old member of the Teachers’ Union of Kurdistan, was accused of “endangering national security” and “enmity against God”. He had lived with the threat of the death penalty since February 2008, when it was imposed upon him after a sham trial that lasted less than five minutes.

Although the Iranian authorities had accepted Farzad’s appeal, the case stalled when it should have been sent to the Supreme Court for review. After further delays, Farzad’s lawyer was told that his file had been lost. Despite the evident lack of independent inquiry into the allegations and the absence of a fair judicial process, Farzad has still been reportedly executed.

EI General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen, said: “We are all deeply shocked and saddened to hear that Farzad has been executed. His case was particularly troubling to our 30 million members because of the opaque and secretive manner in which his trial was conducted, the lack of basic rights he had access to whilst in prison, and the fact that neither his family or legal representatives were informed of his execution. This is a terrible day for teachers, union activists and human rights. EI expresses our solidarity with Farzad’s family, colleagues and students.”

He added: “EI recognises the rights and responsibilities of all governments to bring to justice those suspected of criminal offences but this must be in line with international and national standards of fair trial. EI is also unequivocal that the Iranian government must ensure respect for all trade union and human rights.”

The trade union and human rights community had campaigned against the death penalty and prosecution of Farzad. EI and its affiliates have been particularly vocal and lobbied the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association, which subsequently “urge[d] the Government [of Iran] to immediately stay the execution of Farzad Kamangar’s death sentence, annul his conviction and secure his release from detention.”

Call for action:

* EI is joining international networks and campaigns to remember Farzad and support other Iranian teachers and union activists, including Rasoul Bodaghi, Hashem Khastar and Bahman Goudarzzade, who remain in prison within Iran.

* EI is writing to the Supreme Leader and Iranian authorities to request a transparent investigation into the execution of Farzad and to halt any further executions.

* EI is informing and calling on all EI affiliates to write to their respective country’s foreign office to express their shock at the execution of Farzad, to call for open and fair trials, and an end to the death penalty.

* EI is encouraging its affiliates to hold vigils to mark the sad news of the death of Farzad.

Five Political Prisoners Executed In Tehran

(Radio Zamaneh) — Five Iranian political prisoners were hanged this morning in the Tehran’s Evin prison.

Fars news agency announced that the five individuals “were involved in terrorist operations including bombing of public and government centres in various cities of Iran.”

The prosecutor’s office issued a statement saying that “Tehran Prosecutor’s representative and defense attorneys of the accused were present in all the stages of their trial.”

Farzad Kamangar, Ali Heydarian and Farhad Vakili were arrested in 2006 and 2007 and sentenced to death for membership in Turkey’s Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) a separatist movement that both Turkey and Iran regard as a terrorist organization.

Shirin Alam Holi was arrested in 2008 by the Revolutionary Guards and was accused of “Moharebeh (enmity toward God) through cooperating with the Kurdish opposition group, Pezhak.” In December of 2009, she was sentenced to death.

Mehdi Eslamian, according to Tehran Prosecutor’s office, was found guilty of involvement in the bombing of Hoseinieh of Seyed ol-Shohada in Shiraz.

Several more Kurdish political prisoners are in imminent danger of execution in Iran’s prisons.

Last November, Ehsan Fatahian, another Iranian Kurdish prisoner, was executed for “armed activity against national security.”

The Islamic Republic appears to have fast tracked the death row process in the past months in reaction to the growing protests in Iran.

Hundreds protest in Tehran over political executions

Iran Focus

Tehran, May 10 – Hundreds of people are protesting in central Tehran in apparent condemnation of the execution on Sunday of five Kurdish political prisoners. (11.30 am local time)

Some 600 people have gathered on the west of Enqelab Square amid tight security, an Iran Focus correspondent in Tehran says.

There have been chants of “Death to Khamenei”, referring to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Security forces attempted to make arrests.

The demonstration follows a night of similar acts of protest in the capital.

Chants of ‘Allah-o Akbar’, or ‘God is the greatest’, and “Death to Khamenei” could be heard from rooftops for several hours into the night in Tehran’s Imam Hossein, Vanak and Tehran-Pars districts.

Students told Iran Focus that at 4am local time on Monday security forces established a large presence in the vicinity of the University of Tehran in an apparent bid to intimidate students who had called for a rally later in the day to condemn the executions on Sunday.

The Tehran public prosecutor’s office in a statement on Sunday said Shirin Alam-Houli, Ali Heydarian, Mahdi Islamian, Farzad Kamangar, and Farhad Vakili were hanged at dawn in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison.

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.

According to sources from the town of Kamyaran, where Mr. Kamangar was a teacher for 12 years, hundreds took to the streets on Sunday to condemn the execution despite a heavy police presence.

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