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Human rights groups and activists are expressing concern over the imminent execution of a Kurdish student, Habibollah Latifi, who has been accused of terrorist activities.

Iranian websites have quoted Latifi's lawyer, Saleh Nikbakht, as saying that he’s been informed that Latifi would be hanged on the morning of December 26.

Latifi, a 27-year-old engineering student, has been reportedly sentenced to death on charges of moharebeh (waging war against God). Authorities have said that he is a member of armed opposition groups.

He’s been accused of involvement in several explosions in Sanandaj as well as filming them and taking pictures. He’s also been reportedly accused of involvement in an assassination attempt on the life of a Sanandaj prosecutor and also an attack on a police station. He is said to have denied the charges against him.

Human Rights Watch has called on Iran’s judiciary to immediately rescind the execution order for Latifi:

The circumstances surrounding Latifi's arrest, detention, and conviction strongly suggest that the Iranian authorities have violated his fundamental rights," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "As in numerous previous security cases, intelligence agents appear to have subjected Latifi to torture and a court sentenced him to death without any convincing evidence against him. The head of Iran's judiciary should immediately rescind the execution order.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has also called on Iranian authorities to halt the “unfair sentence” against Latifi and allow the case to be reviewed by a judge independent of security forces:

The Campaign believes this ruling must be challenged to bring attention to the ever-increasing influence of intelligence-security forces over the Iranian Judiciary and in determining outcomes of trials. The Campaign believes these intelligence-security forces are ultimately pushing towards large scale political executions and any silence in the face of such politically-motivated executions could lead to devastating results in the condition of Iranian political prisoners.

Latifi’s family are reportedly making their last effort to save him from execution. Rights activists have launched a petition to save Latifi from hanging. A Facebook campaign has been also launched and some activists have changed their profile pictures with pictures of Latifi to bring attention to his case.

Latifi, who was arrested in 2007, is being held at Sanandaj prison. Reports say he is suffering from kidney failure and heart problems.

Human Rights Watch says Latifi is one of at least 16 Kurds facing execution on various national security-related charges including moharebeh.

About This Blog

Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.


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