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PORTSIDE  July 2011, Week 4

PORTSIDE July 2011, Week 4

Subject:

Iran Public Execution Outrages Human Rights Groups

From:

Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Mon, 25 Jul 2011 01:52:07 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (132 lines)

Iran Public Execution Outrages Human Rights Groups

    Footage shows 'disturbing normality' of public
    executions with convicts hanged from bridge in front
    of crowds, including children

by Saeed Kamali Dehghan
The Guardian
July 22, 2011
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/22/iran-public-execution-human-rights

WARNING: contains graphic images

Iran Executes Three People in Kermanshah - July 19, 2011
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YTlbObayk8
Uploaded by Kurdishbogger on July 20, 2011

A disturbing video of the public execution of three men
in Iran has sparked anger among human rights activists.

The graphic video, released by Amnesty International on
Thursday, showed guards standing on top of buses draping
ropes around necks of three convicts sentenced to death
by hanging after being convicted of rape. The men were
later hanged from an overhead bridge after the vehicles
drove away.

The executions, which took place on 19 July in the
western city of Kermanshah, home to Iran's Kurd
minority, attracted significant crowds, including
children. Some of the crowds appear to be filming
hangings by mobile phones.

The video, which was supplied to Amnesty by an Iranian
human rights activist, Fazel Hawramy from
kurdishblogger.com, highlights the use of public
executions, in which officials publicly hang convicts
from a large crane or a high place in front of crowds.

"What is so alarming about this video is the apparent
normality of the event. Thousands of people are watching
as if it were a football match. People are shouting and
cheering. But what is most shocking is the participation
of children in this barbaric 'spectacle'," Hawramy said.

The release of the video follows human rights groups'
alarm over the sharp escalation in capital punishment in
Iran.

Activists said two weeks ago that Iran has executed an
average of almost two people a day in the first six
months of this year. Iran insists the executions are
related to serious crimes such as drug-trafficking
although at least two political activists have been
identified among those hanged in the first half of 2011.

Amnesty said Iranian authorities have acknowledged
public executions of at least 28 people so far this
year.

Speaking to the Guardian by phone from Kermanshah, the
Iranian who filmed Amnesty's video said: "I was there,
the executions took place at the centre of the city in
Azadi Square at 10 in the morning when people were busy
with their businesses or shopping.

"Authorities didn't have any consideration for innocent
children who were accompanying their parents and
suddenly watched an execution which I would guess would
be carved in their mind for ever."

Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International Middle East
and North Africa deputy director, said: "Not only those
executed, but all those who watch public executions,
including, children, are brutalised and degraded by the
experience. These public displays of killing perpetuate
a culture of acceptance of violence and bloodlust,
rather than a belief in justice."

She added: "It is deeply disturbing that despite a
moratorium on public executions ordered in 2008, the
Iranian authorities are once again resorting to this
inhuman practice."

Amnesty said Kermanshah's executions follow "several
widely publicised gang rapes of women this year in Iran.
In some cases, officials blamed the victims for failing
to adhere to the official code on dress or gender
segregation."

In criticism to Iran's use of capital punishment as a
solution to the country's rape issue, Hadj Sahraoui
said: "Executions after speedy, unfair trials are no
solution to the extremely serious problem of rape in
Iran, which feeds on the acceptance of violence against
women at all levels of society.

"The Iranian authorities should be aiming to combat this
culture of violence rather than perpetuate it through
these public displays of brutality."

Rebin Rahmani of HRANA, a human rights website, said 450
people in Kermanshah prison, convicted of charges such
as rape or drug-trafficking, have been handed down death
sentences and are currently awaiting execution.

[Saeed Kamali Dehghan is an Iranian journalist. He has
written for the Guardian from the Iranian capital,
Tehran, and was there during the crisis following the
disputed presidential election in 2009. He is now based
in London and was named 2010 Journalist of the Year at
the Foreign Press Association Awards. His email is
[log in to unmask] ]

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