Iran prosecutor calls for death penalty against protesters

Iran prosecutor calls for death penalty against protesters

An Iranian prosecutor called Monday for the death penalty against five protesters arrested during demonstrations staged as Shiites participated in solemn Ashura rituals last month, state media reported.

The five were accused of having ties with Iran’s exiled and armed opposition, the People’s Muhajideen, and charged with “Moharebeh” or being enemies of God, which is punishable by death under Iran’s Sharia-based law.

“I ask the court for maximum punishment against these people based on the investigations, the defendants’ confessions and (their) criminal acts on Ashura,” the prosecution said in the indictment carried by the media. [continued…]

Iran’s political winds are shifting

In late December, I received a New Year’s e-mail from a former Iranian diplomat. The contact surprised me. I had known the man when I lived in Tehran from 2004 to ’07, but I hadn’t heard from him in more than two years. In 2007, as the Ahmadinejad administration began tarring its ideological enemies as foreign stooges, he cut relations with me.

I hadn’t become less of a liability in the interim. In 2009, during the postelection unrest, I was arrested at Tehran’s airport as I was boarding a flight and transferred to Evin Prison. Though the Greek government intervened to obtain my prompt release, others were less fortunate. A government-issued indictment accused many green movement sympathizers of being pawns of America, Israel or Britain and seeking to execute a velvet revolution. Most were sentenced to long prison terms or execution.

Things were so bad, I doubted I would be hearing from my estranged friend, particularly because the government had stepped up its monitoring of electronic communications. But then his season’s greeting arrived, and I wasn’t the only recipient. Some even more radioactive addressees were openly listed in the e-mail. One of them was a high-profile prisoner in Evin Prison, tried and found guilty on a charge of espionage. Another was an American academic whose name came up in a show-trial indictment as an intelligence agent. [continued…]

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