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Death Of An Iranian Dissident

Akbar Mohammadi, an Iranian pro-democracy student leader, died in Tehran's Evin prison. Mr. Mohammadi had been arrested and sentenced to death for participating in 1999 protests at Tehran University. His sentence was commuted to fifteen years imprisonment. He was given a furlough for medical treatment of injuries suffered from beatings during his imprisonment. Mr. Mohammadi was re-arrested in June.

In a written statement the independent monitoring group, Amnesty International, said "The series of failures to afford Akbar Mohammadi justice have robbed him of his life and his family of human dignity. "The Iranian authorities," the statement said, "need to take urgent measures to ensure that political prisoners are afforded a fair and open trial; that torture and other ill-treatment in Iranian prisons is halted and that the practice of delaying or denying medical care is stopped immediately."

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says the United States "condemns the Iranian government's severe repression of dissidents, and its continued crackdown on civil society and those fighting for personal freedom in Iran." He says the U.S. "support[s] the Iranian people and their aspirations for more democracy in Iran":

"We think that given the opportunity, the Iranian people would be able to freely choose their elected leaders. That is not currently the case. Iran -- the Iranian people's aspirations for a true, free democracy are stymied by the rule of some -- of an unelected few who really run things in Iran."

The United States "is gravely concerned about the crackdown by the Iranian regime against its opponents and dissenters and about the status of those who are currently being held by the Islamic republic," said Mr. McCormack.

Ali Akbar Moussavi Khoeini; a former member of parliament and student leader, has been imprisoned since his arrest during a June 12th women's rally in Tehran. Iranian labor union leader Mansour Osanloo, one of many wrongfully arrested in December 2005, continues to languish behind bars.

Mr. McCormack said the U.S. "call[s] on the Iranian government to respect the human rights of all Iranian citizens."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.