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Executed Iranian Activist's Brother Holds Supreme Leader 'Responsible'

Farzad Kamangar was executed after a cursory trial.
Farzad Kamangar was executed after a cursory trial.
* Correction appended

The brother of an activist hanged in Iran has blamed the country's supreme leader for his death, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Farzad Kamangar was one of five activists executed in Tehran on May 9.

His brother, Mehrdad Kamangar, spoke to Radio Farda via phone shortly after Farzad's execution. Mehrdad said some officials had told the family that Farzad was innocent and should be freed, and that neither the family nor Farzad's lawyer had been given any advance notice of the execution.

The authorities “are responsible for everything that has happened to Farzad. The supreme leader himself, a person who is the main [source of] power in the country, is responsible and must answer” for Farzad's death," he said.

Farzad, 34, was a teacher and social worker. Iranian authorities accused him of involvement with a Kurdish nationalist group, the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK).

Farzad had long denied any involvement with the PJAK. But he was convicted and sentenced to death in a trial in February 2008 that lasted seven minutes, during which neither he nor his lawyer was allowed to speak.

Activist Shirin Alam-Holi, 29, was also hanged on May 9. She was also accused of cooperating with the PJAK. Alam-Holi had denied any involvement with the group.

Alam-Holi's aunt, who requested anonymity, told Radio Farda that the family was not told about her execution until after it was carried out.

"In her most recent letter, [Alam-Holi] had written that prison officials told her that if she appeared on television and spoke against Kurdish parties, they would release her. But she refused to do that," Alam-Holi's aunt said.

Iran has a large Kurdish minority in its west and northwest. The PJAK is considered a terrorist organization by the United States, and it has links with the more widely known Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

According to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, 27 political activists remain on death row in Iran.

Nine are protesters arrested in the crackdown that followed Iran's June 2009 presidential election. The rest are alleged to be Kurdish activists.

* CORRECTION: The original version of this article incorrectly reported that Farzad Kamangar was accused of ties to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), when he was actually accused of being involved with the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), which is active in Iran.