05/10/2010, 00.00
IRAN
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Day of mourning in Iranian Kurdistan for the execution of five political prisoners

Protests in several cities in the region, despite the massive police presence. The most prominent of those killed was a 34 year old teacher, convicted of "taking up arms against God" after a seven minute trial.

Tehran (AsiaNews) – It is a day of mourning, today, in the Kurdish region of Iran for the executions of five political prisoners, yesterday in Tehran. According to reports in the blogs, protests have already taken place in the region and especially in Sanandaj and Kamyaran, where massive contingents of police and army were deployed yesterday. The families of the five slain also have announced their intention to protest in the capital.

According to the official announcement of the executions, the political prisoners put to death were: Farzad Kamangar, Ali Heydarian, Farhad Vakil, Shirin Alam Hooli and Mehdi Islamian.  The unofficial Fars news agency reported the news quoting the Prosecutor General of Tehran.

Minutes after the news spread, Kamangar's lawyer, Khalil Bahramian, said they had received no notification and that today they would go by the prosecutor.

Farzad Kamangar, the best known of those killed was a Kurdish teacher who was arrested in 2007. He had been subjected to months of physical and mental torture which he described in a letter to his mother (pictured). He was sentenced to death in February 2008. In February this year he had appealed the sentence.

Mehdi Islamian was arrested May 4, 2009 and spent six months in solitary confinement. His brother was put to death. Shirin Alam Hooli was arrested in May 2008 and sentenced to death in November 2009.Ali Heydarian and Farhad Vakil were arrested in 2006-2007.

According to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, the executions are a signal of government policy to strengthen their positions through terror and intimidation. The campaign highlights in particular the killing of Farzad Kamangar, 34, a teacher and social worker, sentenced to death for "having taken up arms against God," after a trial lasting seven minutes, during which no evidence was brought against him.

"Kamangar - said a campaign spokesman, Aaron Rhodes - was arbitrarily arrested and set up to be killed in a staged trial, with no opportunity to present a defense”. "These secret executions are, in reality, nothing more than state-sanctioned murders, and provide more evidence of the Islamic Republic’s brazen contempt for international human rights standards."

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