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Middle east

Two hanged in connection with post-election unrest

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2010-01-28

Tehran hung two men at dawn on Thursday, the first executions in connection with the widespread demonstrations following the disputed June 12 re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iran hanged two men at dawn on Thursday who were convicted of seeking to overthrow the Islamic regime, the first executions of dissidents in connection with widespread protests that followed the disputed June 12 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour were charged with being members of a monarchist group and Mohareb, or enemies of God, who had planned to assassinate government officials as part of an attempted coup.

Iranian news in English
Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi confirmed the hangings with state-run television. "The two who were hanged today belonged to the monarchist group Tondar (Kingdom Assembly),” Dolatabadi said. “During their trials they confessed to obtaining explosives and planning to assassinate officials.”

“With these hangings, the authorities have sent a clear message for the Iranian opposition to be on their guard,” said Delphine Minoui, Middle East correspondent for French daily Le Figaro, in a telephone interview with FRANCE 24 from Beirut.

Nasrin Sotoudeh, the lawyer for 19-year-old Rahmanipour, said her client was detained before the June poll and took no part in the post-election unrest. "He was arrested in Farvardin (the Iranian month from March-April) before the election and charged with cooperation with the Kingdom Assembly," she told AFP.
Sotoudeh described the charges against her client as "political" and the court’s verdict as "illegal and unjust".
"He confessed because of threats against his family," she said.  
Sotoudeh said she was shocked to hear of Thursday’s executions because both she and Rahmanipour’s family had been waiting to hear from the appeals court. She added that she had not been allowed to represent him at his initial trial in July, which she called a “show trial” in her remarks to AFP.  
Iranian authorities arrested an estimated 4,000 people, including opposition politicians and journalists, during the weeks of protest that followed the June presidential election. Several of those accused of taking part have been handed stiff jail terms. Others, some of whom allege that they were violently abused while in detention, have been released on bail pending their appeals. 
Official estimates say 36 people died in the waves of post-election unrest but opposition figures say up to 72 people were killed.
In renewed demonstrations on December 27, the Shiite holy day of Ashura, eight people were killed and hundreds more were wounded.
Nine other detainees - five of whom were arrested on Ashura and four who were arrested previously - have also been handed death sentences and are awaiting final verdicts from the appeals court.

Date created : 2010-01-28

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