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Looking back, the pictures of 2 people from last summer's massive show trial in Tehran are haunting: a gaunt teenage boy and a middle aged man testifying under pressure – like scores of others tried with no respect for due process since Iran's post election demonstrations in June.
Now Arash Rahmanipour and Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani are dead, executed for being "enemies of God" and for plotting to overthrow the Iranian regime. Because the Iranian government did not exercise due process or make public the evidence against the 2, facts of the case will remain unclear.
White House Deputy press secretary Bill Burton called the hanging of the 2 Iranians "a low point in the Islamic Republic's unjust and ruthless crackdown of peaceful dissent. Murdering political prisoners who are exercising their universal rights," he said, "will not bring the respect and legitimacy the Islamic Republic seeks. It will only serve to further isolate Iran's government in the world and from its people."
According to the semi-official FARS news agency, a senior Iranian judiciary official has said that 9 more people sentenced to death by Tehran's Revolutionary Court since the election will be executed soon.
Last month, in its annual world report, Human Rights Watch called Iran's post-election crackdown "a human rights disaster." Human Rights Watch said Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Basij militia and police arbitrarily arrested thousands of peaceful protestors and dissidents in a clear effort to intimidate critics and stifle dissent. The number of deaths caused by government-sponsored violence is unknown, but is believed to be significantly higher than the 3 dozen or so that have been confirmed by the regime.
Human Rights Watch also noted that in addition to the human rights crisis following the elections, security forces systematically harassed members of religious minorities and carried out a campaign of arbitrary arrest against Kurdish, Azeri, Baluch and Arab civil society. In November, Human Rights Watch condemned the execution of a young Kurdish Iranian cultural activist who was hanged amid reports of torture and a grossly unfair judicial process. More than a dozen Kurdish Iranian political activists are currently on death row.
After the January execution of Arash Rahmanipour and Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani, State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said the United States "will continue to speak out on Iran regarding [its] relationship with its own people, and what we see as serious human rights concerns and abuses. ... We believe Iran should change course and respect the rights of its own citizens."