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Many Executions In Iran

An Iranian exile shouts slogans to protest against executions in Iran during a demonstration in front of the Iranian embassy in Brussels December 29, 2010.

At least 47 prisoners were hanged since January 1st.

2011 is still young, but no one would know that from the number of Iranians who have been executed by their government so far this year. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, the ICHRI, reports that at least 47 prisoners were hanged since January 1st.

On January 15th, 2011, a Kurdish Iranian political prisoner, identified as Hossein Khazri, was executed in Urumiye prison. He had been convicted of being "mohareb", or an enemy of God, supposedly for crimes against national security. Mr. Khazri had denied all charges against him and claimed that he had been severely tortured. ICHRI spokesman Aaron Rhodes said that "the execution of Kurdish activists, without fair trials and following torture, increasingly appears as a systematic, politically motivated process." Last May four Kurdish Iranian political prisoners, including teacher Farzad Kamangar and Kurdish cultural activist Shirin Alam Holi, were hanged in Evin prison.

Amnesty International has noted with concern, moreover, that after the disputed presidential election of 2009, Iranian authorities explicitly threatened political opponents with execution in an attempt to stifle dissent.

In December, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution condemning human rights violations in Iran. Among other issues, the resolution noted the "dramatic increase recorded in the imposition of the death penalty ... with a particular surge following the post-election unrest in 2009" and called "the common imposition of the death penalty for mohareb offences ... especially worrisome."

Along with human rights monitors and the international community, the United States is concerned by the executions taking place in Iran following judicial procedures lacking transparency and fairness, and calls on the Iranian government to respect the fundamental human rights of the Iranian people.