Execution of Sherko Moarefi imminent

Iran: Halt Execution of Kurdish Activist
Story from Human Rights Watch, 30 April 2011

Sherko Moarefi

The Iranian Judiciary should immediately halt any planned execution of Sherko (Bahman) Moarefi and rescind his death sentence, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch believes that Moarefi, currently being held at Saqez prison in Kurdistan province, may be at imminent risk of execution.

Unconfirmed reports suggest the authorities have set May 1, 2011, as the date for Moarefi’s execution, following a death sentence imposed in 2009 for belonging to a banned Kurdish separatist group, but his lawyers have been unable to get official word of the date. On April 28, Moarefi began a hunger strike in Saqez prison in order to protest his “vague and unclear” legal status, according to several Iranian human rights groups.

“The uncertainty surrounding Moarefi’s pending execution causes extraordinary hardship and suffering to both him and his family,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “And we strongly suspect that his conviction was based on an unfair trial. Moarefi may be at imminent risk of execution and we urge the authorities to rescind his death sentence at once.”

A Revolutionary Court sentenced Moarefi to death following a closed-door trial on terrorism-related charges in early 2009. In April Moarefi’s lawyers informed Roozonline, a Persian-language media outlet, that the Supreme Court was still reviewing their client’s case and rejected reports that an execution date had been set. Later, in a public letter reportedly written by Moarefi from prison and dated April 15, 2011, the detainee wrote that on March 22 authorities at Saqez prison verbally informed him that his execution was scheduled for May 1, 2011. On April 29, in an interview with the Persian-language Radio Zamaneh, one of Moarefi’s lawyers, Ahmad Saeed Sheikhi, said that the Supreme Court had apparently confirmed the death sentence and Moarefi’s execution order had been sent to prison authorities for implementation on April 26. He noted, however, that neither he nor his colleague had received any official confirmation from the Judiciary regarding the date and method of their client’s execution. Saeed Sheikhi maintained that the execution order should be rescinded because the head of the Judiciary had previously acknowledged that the death sentence had been issued in error.

Authorities arrested Moarefi in October 2008 close to the Iran-Iraq border on suspicion that he was a member of Komala, a leftist Kurdish separatist group branded as a terrorist organization by the Iranian government. The Revolutionary Court in the Kurdish-majority city of Saqez sentenced Moarefi to death for the “acting against the national security” and moharebeh, or “enmity against God,” a term usually applied to persons accused of taking up arms. Moarefi’s lawyers maintain that their client was a supporter of Komala but not an active member. They also contend that Moarefi was involved in peaceful dissent at the time of his arrest and Komala had officially renounced armed struggle in the 1990s. They appealed the lower court’s ruling both on substantive and procedural grounds.

An appellate court later affirmed the revolutionary court’s ruling. In October 2009, a judge in the Kurdish city of Sanandaj ordered the execution of Moarefi and two other Kurdish political prisoners, Ehsan Fattahian and Habibollah Latifi, for the crime of moharebeh. Authorities executed Fattahian on November 11, 2009, allegedly for his involvement with Komala. Latifi was due to be executed for his involvement with “anti-revolutionary groups” on December 26, 2010, but his sentence was not carried out after Human Rights Watch and other human rights organizations launched an international campaign to save his life. However, Latifi remains on death row.

At least 15 other Kurdish political prisoners are known to be on death row awaiting execution on various national security charges including moharebeh.

Under articles 186 and 190-91 of Iran’s penal code, anyone found responsible for taking up arms against the state, or belonging to an organization taking up arms against the government, may be considered guilty of moharebeh and sentenced to death. Human Rights Watch has documented numerous cases where Iranian security forces used physical and psychological coercion including torture to secure false confessions in security-related cases, and courts have convicted defendants of moharebeh in trials where prosecutors relied primarily if not solely on confessions and failed to provide any convincing evidence establishing the defendant’s guilt.

On January 15, 2011, Iranian rights groups reported that authorities had executed Hossein Khezri following a revolutionary court conviction for moharebeh. State-controlled media announced that day that prison authorities in West Azerbaijan province had hanged a member of the Party for Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), an armed Iranian Kurdish group, but did not reveal the person’s identity. Mohammad Olyaeifard, Khezri’s lawyer, earlier said that Khezri had joined PJAK militants in Iraq when he was younger, but that he had never participated in the group’s military wing and that his interrogators tortured him to falsely confess to taking part in a violent attack that happened in 2008.

On May 9, 2010, authorities executed five prisoners, four of them ethnic Kurds charged with having ties to an armed Kurdish group. Authorities failed to notify their lawyers in advance and prevented delivery of the bodies to the families for burial. Human Rights Watch documented numerous trial irregularities in these cases, including credible allegations of torture, forced confessions, and lack of adequate access to a lawyer.

“Given what we know about how Iran’s revolutionary courts operate, the government’s treatment of Kurdish dissidents, and the vagueness of the charge of moharebeh, there is every reason to believe that Moarefi did not receive a fair trial,” Stork said.

Fears surrounding the possibility of Moarefi’s imminent execution are heightened by the sharp rise in the rate of executions in Iran since December 2010 – Human Rights Watch and other human rights organizations documented at least 86 executions during the first 45 days of 2011 alone. According to official sources, Iranian authorities executed least 135 people so far in 2011, but the actual number is believed to be higher. At least two of those executed in 2011 are believed to have been juvenile offenders.

In a report released in March 2011, Amnesty International said that “Iranian officials acknowledged the execution of 252 people, including five women and one juvenile offender in 2010.” But the organization reported that it had received “credible reports of more than 300 other executions which were not officially acknowledged.”

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Read letter from prison by Sherko Moarefi here.

Hossein Khezri executed in Iran

Hossein Khezri

UPDATE: 21.30GMT Hossein Khezri’s brother tells RAHANA they ‘are unaware whether the death sentence has been carried out.’  Apparently neither the family nor the lawyer has been officially informed of the execution.

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With the world’s attention focused on the events unfolding in Tunisia, hardly anyone noticed that Hossein Khezri, a 28-year-old Kurdish activist, was quietly executed this morning by the Iranian regime. He was hanged at Orumiyeh Prison for his alleged involvement with the Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK).

Hossein was arrested in the summer of 2008 and spent the next two-and-a-half years in a living hell. Khezri had been arrested for ‘participation in the armed killing of a police officer at the outpost in Gol Sheykhan in Orumiyeh in 2005’ according to IRIB. The abuse during his detention was so severe that he lost much of his eyesight. During the eight months he spent in solitary confinement his mental state was affected to such an extent that he tried to kill himself twice. He wrote that he ‘thought death will be far better than this daily torture and inhumane conditions.’

In October of last year, Hossein wrote a letter addressed to international human rights organisations regarding his case and the torture he endured. Here is an excerpt:

On July 27, 2009, two weeks before the final verdict, I sent a formal complaint to the Attorney General of the Orumiyeh Military Court about the of inhumane and illegal behaviour [toward me]…On February 2, 2009, right after I sent the complaint and submitted my evidence to the medical examiner, I was detained for three days by the Ministry of Intelligence under the supervision of armed guards. I was threatened during this time about the complaint I had submitted. I was asked why I dared to complain. I was told that I must appear on camera and read off the confessions they have written for me and deny that I had been mistreated in any way. I was told if I cooperate, they may lessen the charges and reduce the punishment…whenever my father attempted to find out any information about me, he was given confusing and conflicting answers. He was so scared that I had already been executed that he suffered a fatal heart attack at the office of the Ministry of Intelligence…Barely 20 days following the death of my father, I was exiled to Qazvin prison [approximately 200 miles away from his home in Orumiyeh]…So far no one has followed up on my complaints or my request to be sent to the medical examiner. So far there has been no reason given for not following up on my complaints.

Also in his letter, Hossein graphically described the torture methods used against him in detention centres belonging to the Revolutionary Guards in Kermanshah and Orumiyeh, and also at a Ministry of Intelligence detention facility. These included beatings for several hours a day, threats against himself and his family, kicks to the genitals which caused bleeding and severe swelling for 14 days, kicks to the legs resulting in open wounds, and harsh baton blows to the entire body for 49 days, causing bruising and inflammation.

Timeline of events:

31 July 2008: arrested in the city of Kermanshah by Nabi Akram Sepah branch, suffered physical and psychological torture while under interrogation for 49 days

18 September 2008: transferred to Sepah al Mehdi in Orumiyeh

06 January 2009: transferred to Information Department of Orumiyeh

15 February 2009: transferred to Western Azerbaijan’s Information Ministry headquarters

19 April 2009: 104th branch of the criminal court of Orumiyeh released its judgment against Hossein. The indictment, based on the intelligence ministry and court, ruled that Hossein Khezri was an armed combatant.

11 May 2009: transferred to Orumiyeh Prison and tried at the Revolutionary Court. Convicted of moharebeh (enmity against God) and ‘endangering state security.’ The representative of the Information Ministry was present at the court, along with the Orumiyeh prosecutor. Before the proceedings Hossein was cautioned that he may not speak of torture or mention any of the interrogations methods or what happened during these sessions. He was also threatened not to mention that his ‘confession’ was obtained under torture. Hossein, however, defied prosecutors and brought up these charges. Judge Darvishi, head of the 1st branch of the Revolutionary Court, proceeded with the sentencing without any attempt to investigate Hossein’s claims of torture and in 10 minutes delivered the sentence of execution.

27 July 2009: Hossein sends a formal complaint for inhumane and illegal behaviour to the attorney general of military courts in Orumiyeh

08 August 2009: Death sentence upheld

11 April 2010: transferred from Orumiyeh Prison to an unknown location

10 October 2010: appeals are exhausted, and he is considered to be in imminent danger of execution

Late October 2010: writes a letter from Section 12 of Orumiyeh Prison to human rights organisations and activists, calling on them to share the details of his case with the international community. In the letter, he pleas for the international community’s help in securing him a fair and open trial and has ‘formally recognised’ all concerned activists as his lawyers.

6 November 2010: letter is published on the website of an opposition political party, after which his death sentence was sent to the ‘section for implementation of the verdict’

17 November 2010: The Supreme Court issues a memo to Orumiyeh Prison officials ordering Hossein Khezri’s execution. The enforcement unit of the prison asks for permission to carry out the order. He is in imminent danger.

19 November 2010: Iran’s Islamic Supreme Court orders the 6th District Court of Orumiyeh to carry out the execution of Hossein Khezri

19 November 2010: Amnesty International issues an urgent action statement for Hossein Khezri. Amnesty urges people to write to the Iranian authorities and appeal for Khezri’s life.

02 January 2011: Hossein Khezri is removed from Orumiyeh Prison by agents from the Intelligence Ministry. He is considered in extreme danger of imminent execution. Although the exact reason for his cell extraction is not known, this is typical before a scheduled execution.

05 January 2011: Hossein Khezri’s brother and other family members are able to visit him in Orumiyeh Prison. According to an interview, it was staged as a final visit and prison authorities told the family that he will be moved and ‘this is the last time you will ever see him.’

13 January 2011: Hossein Khezri’s family is still unable to obtain information about his whereabouts or condition. Authorities have told them simply that he was moved to Tehran for the completion of his sentence.

15 January 2011: execution carried out

There are more than 10 million Kurds in Iran who make up approximately 15 percent of Iran’s population. Expression of Kurdish culture is somewhat tolerated and the Kurdish language is used in some broadcasts and publications. However, political activity based on Kurdish identity is banned and linked to separatism. Kurds, as a result, are disproportionately targeted using security legislation such as the capital offence of moharebeh. Punishments are often entirely at the discretion of the presiding judge.

More than a dozen Kurdish political prisoners in Iran are now facing the death penalty. Many, many more are imprisoned for their beliefs and activities. Late last month, Habibollah Latifi’s execution was postponed after an international campaign to save his life.

sources:

Hossein Khezri, Kurdish Political Activist Sentenced to Death as “Enemy of God”, Persian2English, 22 November 2010

Hossein Khezri: Stop the Executions

URGENT ACTION: Kurd’s death sentence to be carried out [88/10 Index: MDE 13/104/2010], Amnesty International, 19 November 2010. (.pdf)

Husen Xizri executed today. Rojhelat, 15 January 2011.

Hossein Khezri executed.  HRA, 15 January 2011.

Execution of Habibollah Latifi on hold

Habibollah Latifi

The execution of Habibollah Latifi, a 29-year-old Kurd, was halted this morning by the Iranian regime shortly before sunrise. In the darkness outside the prison, the temperature was below freezing, yet hundreds of family, friends, activists and sympathisers had been gathering there for hours hoping for news of a reprieve.

‘We do not have any other hope than reaching out to the international community,’ Latifi’s sister Elahe said in an interview yesterday. ‘Please help my innocent brother not to be executed while people of the world are celebrating Christmas.’

The three-day international campaign seems to have worked. One of Latifi’s lawyers, Nemat Ahmadi told the ISNA news agency early this morning,‘The verdict has been halted for the moment. The sentence has not been carried out and he has met with his family this morning.’

Nemat Ahmadi

Amongst the frenzied Tweets yesterday was one that came shortly after 8am local time, @shadien wrote: ‘talking to Elaheh [sister] now. family is visiting with him now.’

The prison governor had came out and announced that the execution would not take place today, making references to the Islamic holy month of Muharram and stating the execution would not take place at this time. Iran executed seven prisoners the day before, notwithstanding references to the holy month of Muharram.

Sayeh Hassan, a Toronto based barrister and solicitor, said in a piece today in Canada Free Press: ‘While there was also a strong international campaign in support of Mr. Latifi, I strongly believe that it was the presence of brave people of Sanandaj in front of the prison that forced the Regime to back down and not carry out the execution.’

Whether it was the crowds of people at the prison, pressure from the international campaign, efforts by Latifi’s lawyers, or the holy month of Muharram that gave Habibollah Latifi this reprieve, the fact remains that he still remains at high risk of execution.

Sadegh Larijani

In a letter to the judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani on Saturday, Ahmadi said he had requested ‘a delay in carrying out the verdict, a fair and lawful investigation and commuting of the sentence.’ Larijani is a hard-line cleric with ties to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the intelligence agencies.

Latifi was arrested on 23 October 2007 in Sanandaj (Sine, in Kurdish) by Iranian security forces. He was sentenced to death on 03 July 2008 and the sentence was upheld by the Appeal Court in Sanandaj on 18 February 2009. He was transferred to solitary confinement on 16 January 2010. On 23 December 2010, judicial officials informed Habibollah Latifi’s lawyer that the execution would take place on Sunday, 26 December 2010.

Before his arrest, Latifi was a politically active student of law at Azad University, in the south-western province of Ilam.

Iran says he was a member of Kurdish Independent Life party (PJAK), an armed opposition group and convicted him of Muharebeh (enmity against God) but his family denies his connection with PJAK and claims the charges were fabricated. According to several media reports, Latifi’s family and sources close to his family have alleged that intelligence agents subjected Latifi to torture during the investigation phase.

‘This is nonsense, they’re just angry with his political activities as a student and have charged him with the false claim that he was a member of PJAK, that’s absolutely a lie, it’s just an excuse for them to execute him,’ his sister said.

According to Amnesty International, his trial was held behind closed doors and his lawyer was not allowed to be present to defend him.

Human rights advocate Peter Tatchell, who has campaigned in defence of Iran’s ethnic minorities, said: ‘Iran has a long history of persecuting its Kurdish ethnic minority population, including framing peaceful, lawful Kurdish rights activists on false charges. Habibollah Latifi was sentenced to death after an unfair trial in a closed court, where he had no legal representation – clearly in violation of articles 10 and 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.’

There are at least sixteen other Kurds on death row in Iran.

sources:

Iran: Political Prisoner Facing Imminent Execution. Amnesty International UK, 26 December 2010.

Farmani, Hiedeh. Iran halts execution of Kurdish student: lawyer. AFP/France 24, 26 December 2010.

Hassan, Sayeh. Brave People of Sanandaj were Successful in Stopping the Execution of Habibollah Latifi. Canada Free Press, 26 December 2010.

Human Rights Watch: Rescind Execution Order for Kurdish Student. Medya News, 25 December 2010.

Activists in Iraqi Kurdistan Protest: Save Habib Latifi! Persian2English, 25 December 2010.

USAID reports on Kurdish IDPs

Refugee camp near border, 12 June 2010. Photo: Holly Pickett/The New York Times

US Agency for International Development/Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA)

Iraq—Complex Emergency/Fact Sheet #1

Part of a report released yesterday by USAID and posted on ReliefWeb outlines details of the Kurdish IDPs (internally displaced persons) due to Iranian bombing campaigns and land incursions.  Iranian forces are in pursuit of PJAK (Party of Free Life of Kurdistan) fighters, who they say are holed up in the Qandil mountains on the other side of the border.

With a weak central government in Baghdad and plans for US troop withdrawals, these attacks may become more frequent. The political stalemate over the formation of a new Iraqi government, already more than five months old, offers little encouragement. Kurdish officials in the north repeatedly criticised Baghdad for its muted response to Iranian aggression.

For now, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has been providing essential household supplies to more than half of the affected population, many of whom are living in makeshift refugee camps.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is quoted in the report as follows:

Between May 24 and June 30, aerial attacks by Iranian military forces against Kurdish opposition groups in Sulaymaniyah and Erbil governorates in northern Iraq displaced 926 households, or approximately 5,500 people. The bombings also resulted in at least two deaths, destroyed houses, killed livestock, and prevented families from accessing grazing and agricultural areas, according to OCHA. As of June 30, approximately 325 IDP households resided with host families, while more than 600 IDP families resided in camps. Few families reported imminent plans to return due to continuing insecurity.

In cooperation with the Government of Iraq (GoI) Ministry of Displacement and Migration (MoDM) and local authorities, USAID/OFDA grantee IOM identified the needs of displaced households and provided emergency relief commodities from pre-positioned stockpiles in Erbil Governorate to approximately 500 families, or 3,000 individuals. Commodities included water filtration units, blankets, sleeping mats, and mattresses.

No information is available as to when these families may be able to return to their villages of Ali Rash, Sharkhan, and other locales.

A glimmer of hope for Zeinab Jalalian?

Prosecutor General of Tehran, Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi

Reports out today indicate that Zeinab Jalalian, a young Kurdish woman on death row in Iran, will be transferred from Evin Prison in Tehran back to Kermanshah, where her trial and sentencing took place. This was a decision made by Prosecutor General of Tehran, Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi.

Jalalian had recently been placed in Section 209 of Evin Prison, run by the government’s Ministry of Intelligence. This had increased concern about her fate.

Dr. Mohammad Sharifi,  lawyer for Jalalian, announced this news of the transfer to Kermanshah after meeting with the Prosecutor General on 05 July. He also says he is ‘optimistic about the prospect of her appeal.’

Zeinab Jalalian

Jalalian has been imprisoned in Evin for the past five months, during which time she was only able to meet with her father once. According to the lawyer, her transfer to Kermanshah will at least make it easier for her family to visit.

This is surprising and curious news considering the harsh attitude and recent threats by Dolatabadi. Dolatabadi recently summoned Mahdiye Golru, a student activist and political prisoner, and threatened her for defending her former cellmate Shirin Alam Houli, one of four Kurdish political prisoners executed by the Iranian regime on 09 May.

Dolatabadi has also been involved in threatening and warning female political prisoners not to speak out or publicise prison conditions in the women’s ward, threatening to punish the entire group if anything about is revealed about conditions there.

sources:

Hassan Sayeh. Extremely Difficult Conditions in the Women’s Ward in Evin Prison, Iran. Canada Free Press, 30 June 2010.

Zeynab Jalalian’s lawyer ‘optimistic’ about appeal. Persian2English, 11 July 2010.

Khalil Bahramian: Defending Kurdish Rights in Iran

Bahramian: 'If the reported news about the enforcement of Zeinab Jalalian’s execution is true, the only way to save this Kurdish prisoner is by contacting the UN Secretary General and asking for his direct intervention.'

Khalil Bahramian has been practising human rights law for more than 40 years. As a lawyer in Iran defending human rights, his job is isolating and dangerous. He has been threatened. He has been arrested. His car was set on fire. But he continues. Bahramian knows it is a high risk position with severe pressures but, he says, ‘[human rights lawyers] should stand with the people and defend citizens’ rights.’

His latest ‘case’ is that of Zeinab Jalalian. Bahramian has been trying to file papers on her behalf for some time now. Iranian authorities, however, have refused to allow him access to her.

Jalalian was sentenced to death in 2009 for ‘enmity against God’ because of her alleged ties to PJAK, the Free Life Party of Kurdistan. Her trial lasted only a few minutes and she was not allowed to have a lawyer represent her. She is now being held incommunicado in Evin Prison. See Kurdistan Commentary’s report from November 2009 for background.

Zeinab Jalalian

In an interview on 30 June with Radio Farda (Iranian Branch of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, broadcasting from Prague) Bahramian said that is was ‘only a few days ago I found out that Zeinab is detained in section 209 of Evin prison. [On Wednesday] I went to Evin prison but they didn’t let me visit her or draw up power of attorney papers.’ He also said that the fact that Jalalian is now in Section 209 and not in the public area increases concerns about her situation.

Bahramian had previously represented Farzad Kamangar and Shirin Alam Houli, two of the four Kurdish activists executed in Iran on 09 May 2010. Those death sentences, carried out without prior notice to either lawyers or families, drew international criticism.

Since their executions, Bahramian has conducted numerous interviews with different foreign and Iranian media defending Kamangar’s innocence and exposing the various judicial irregularities leading to the hangings. Bahramian had stated clearly that all Iranian officials knew full well that Kamangar had been innocent, but was finally executed in violation of many judicial norms and practices. Neither the families nor the lawyers of the executed prisoners were notified about the planned executions beforehand.

Shortly after the May executions, the Iranian opposition website Jaras reported that Bahramian had been arrested by security agents and taken to an unknown location due to his outspoken criticism of the regime. Bahramian, who was one of the lawyers defending jailed Kurdish journalists Adnan Hassanpour and Hiwa Boutimar, was also arrested in 2007 while trying to board a flight to Italy. He was to attend the 2007 ISF (Information, Safety & Freedom) Freedom of the Press award ceremony, where Hassanpour and Boutimar had been named recipients of the award.

Bahramian says that with more and more hardliners in positions of power and influence within the Iranian judicial system, the situation of political prisoners in Iran has become increasingly difficult. So too has Bahramian’s job. Kurdistan Commentary applauds Khalil Bahramian’s tireless efforts on behalf of these activists in Iran fighting for human rights and dignity.

At present there are 17 Kurds facing execution in Iran. They are: Rostam Arkia, Hossein Khezri, Anvar Rostami, Mohammad Amin Abdolahi, Ghader Mohammadzadeh, Zeynab Jalalian, Habibollah Latifi, Sherko Moarefi (represented by Bahramian), Mostafa Salimi, Hassan Tali, Iraj Mohammadi, Rashid Akhkandi, Mohammad Amin Agoushi, Ahmad Pouladkhani, Sayed Sami Hosseini, Sayed Jamal Mohammadi, and Aziz Mohammadzadeh.

Many are held in the infamous Evin Prison, named after a neighbourhood in northwestern Tehran. It is cruelly ironic that Evîn in Kurdish means Love.

sources:

Lawyer of executed prisoners Khalil Bahramian arrested. The Green Voice of Freedom, 20 May 2010.

Fathi, Nazila. Relatives of Kurds Executed in Iran Are Denied the Remains, and 2 Are Arrested. New York Times, 11 May 2010.

Lawyer Fears Kurdish Prisoner Faces Imminent Execution In Iran. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 01 July 2010.

Emotional Interview with the Lawyer of Executed Prisoners: “I Am Speechless”. Persian2English, 13 May 2010.

Iran: Executed Dissidents ‘Tortured to Confess’. Human Rights Watch, 11 May 2010.

Iranian activist calls Mottaki a “murderer” for executing Kurdish political prisoners

Iranian opposition activists heckled and threw eggs at Manouchehr Mottaki, Iran’s Foreign Minister, on a trip to Dublin.

On a recent trip to Dublin, Ireland, Manoucher Mottaki was heckled by Iranian activists, calling the Iranian Foreign Minister a “terrorist” and “murderer”.

As the video below shows, Mottaki’s bodyguards assaulted the activists kicking one down a flight of stairs and punching another.

One of the protesters pointed his finger at the Iranian Minister shouting “shame on you, shame on you. You’re a murderer” and continued “why did you execute 5 Kurdish political prisoners?”

Iran recently executed 4 Iranian Kurds, one of them a woman, and another Iranian man on charges of “moharebeh” which is an Iranian term meaning “enmity against God”. The Iranian Kurds were sentenced to death on charges of being members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK), two Kurdish opposition rebel groups fighting Turkey and Iran respectively.

Iran is second only to China in terms of capital punishment, but can be considered number one in the world for the number of people it executes in proportion to its population.

Amnesty - Death Penalty in 2009

Mottaki was giving an address to the Institute of International and European Affairs regarding the recent round of UN Security Council sanctions on Iran.

As he left the building more protestors were waiting outside to confront Mottaki by hurling eggs and chanting “Death to Khamanei, death to dictator”.

Irish news sources report that some of the protestors were members of the Mujaheddin-e Khalq or People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK/PMOI) dissident group, which up until January 2009 was designated as a terror organization by the European Union.