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Asia-pacific

Three sentenced to death over election protests

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-10-11

Iran has issued death sentences for three people arrested during the massive street protests triggered by the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, ignoring international pleas for the release of all protesters.

AFP - Three people arrested after Iran's disputed presidential election have been condemned to death despite a global outcry over trials of people who claimed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election was rigged. 

"Three people who were accused (for their role) in the post-election incidents have been sentenced to death," said Zahed Bashiri Rad, media officer at the justice ministry, quoted by ISNA news agency on Saturday.

Bashiri Rad, giving only the initials of the convicts said that "MZ and AP were convicted for ties with the Kingdom Assembly of Iran and NA for ties with the Monafeghin (exiled opposition group commonly known as the People's Mujahedeen)." 

Massive street protests broke out in Iran following Ahmadinejad's re-election. 

About 4,000 people were initially arrested and 140, including senior reformers and journalists, have been put on trial on charges of seeking a "soft" overthrow of the regime and inciting protests. 

On Thursday, a reformist website reported that a member of a group seeking to restore Iran's monarchy has been sentenced to death for his involvement in the unrest, identifying him as Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani. 

Judiciary officials were not available to confirm if he was the "MZ" mentioned by ISNA on Saturday. 

On Friday, Amnesty International urged Tehran to lift the death sentence on Zamani. A member of the Kingdom Assembly of Iran, he was among scores of arrested people in the post-vote mass demonstrations, it said. 

Amnesty condemned such "show trials" as a "mockery of justice". 

Bashiri Rad said the death sentences were "not final and they can still be appealed to the supreme court." 

Under Iranian law, convicts may appeal their sentences, which must be upheld by both the appeals court and the supreme court before they are carried out. 

Bashiri Rad also said some other defendants received their sentences and they have appealed, but did not give the details of the verdicts. 

"Appeals of 18 of defendants that have been convicted over the recent riots will soon be sent to the Tehran appeals court," Bashiri Rad said. 

Tehran prosecutors have denied a report that 20 people, among them prominent reformists, including Iranian-American scholar Kian Tajbakhsh and reformist politicians Mohammed Ali Abtahi, Mohammad Atrianfar, Shahab Tabatabaei, Saeed Shariati and Abdollah Momeni will soon be freed on bail. 

Bashiri Rad did not specify if among the 18 convicts there were any prominent reformists.

Date created : 2009-10-10

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