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Iran Hangs Five, Including A Teacher

Iran today executed five prisoners over their alleged "involvement in bomb attacks and links to terrorist groups." At least four of them were members of Iran's Kurdish minority.

IRNA said three of them were founders of the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) in Iran and were also involved in bombings that killed members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, an elite force that is separate from Iran's regular armed forces.

The five -- Farzad Kamangar, Shirin Alam Hooli, Farzad Vakili, Ali Heydarian, and Mehdi Eslamian -- were hanged on the morning of May 9 in Tehran's Evin Prison.

"Kamangar, Heydarian, and Vakili started their armed activities to overthrow the Islamic establishment in 2003 by creating the PJAK group in Iran," IRNA said, quoting their indictment. "Four of them were also involved in a deadly mosque bombing (in the central city of Shiraz) in 2008."

The International Campaign for Human Rights said on May 7 that Alam Hooli had come under pressure in prison to make a televised confession but she had refused to do so.

Alam Hooli, 28, described in a letter issued in February how she had been physically and mentally tortured in prison. Here is a link to the letter that we posted on Persian Letters.

Kamangar, a 32-year-old teacher and social worker, was according to his lawyer sentenced to death "on absolutely zero evidence." Here is a link to a letter Kamangar also wrote from prison.

Kamangar's brother told RFE/RL's Radio Farda today that authorities had not informed the family nor his lawyer about his execution. He said Farzad Kamangar made a telephone call to his family on the afternoon of May 8 and he also didn't seem to know that he would be executed.

Kamangar's brother rejected the charges against Farzad and said he never cooperated with PJAK. He said Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is responsible for the death of his brother. His execution has led to outrage among activists and intellectuals who campaigned on his behalf.

The executions come ahead of the anniversary of last year's disputed June 12 election. They seem to be aimed at intimidating the opposition, which is planning to launch fresh street protests.

Iran has one of the highest rates of execution in the world. On May 8, Iranian news agencies reported that six drug traffickers were hanged in the Ghezel Hessar prison.

--Golnaz Esfandiari

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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