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Iranian Prisoner's Wife Pleads For His Life, Claims False Confession Sought

His wife says authorities tried to torture Jafar Kazemi into confessing he'd participated in the December 27 violence (pictured), roughly three months after he'd been detained.
The wife of an Iranian prisoner says her husband has been sentenced to death for refusing to confess to an offense he never committed, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Roudabeh Akbari told Radio Farda on May 23 that her husband, Jafar Kazemi, was taken into custody on his way home on September 18.

Akbari says authorities asked him to say he was arrested three months later and wanted him to say he had participated in the December 27 antigovernment protests in Tehran.

Those protests, held to coincide with the Shi'ite religious holiday of Ashura, deteriorated into deadly clashes between protesters and security forces.

Akbari says her husband refused to make the false confession. She says the authorities then beat him badly, breaking three of his teeth.

Akbari believes Kazemi was arrested because their son went to live at a Baghdad base of the exiled People's Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MKO). The group, grounded in Marxism and Islam, has sought to overthrow Iran's post-1979 Islamic system.

Some 3,500 MKO members reside at the base -- called Camp Ashraf -- in northern Baghdad. The U.S. government has designated MKO a terrorist organization.

Worried about their son, Akbari says she and Kazemi called him four times. However, Akbari said her husband never had any involvement with the MKO.

Akbari added that Kazemi's lawyer says that he is innocent and that there is no evidence to justify such a heavy sentence.

On May 15, Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi confirmed Kazemi's death sentence, which has yet to be carried out. The death sentences of five other prisoners charged with ties to the MKO were also confirmed.

Akbari told Radio Farda that she hoped pressure on Iranian authorities could save her husband's life.

"I beg you to make my voice heard to people and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. [Please] put the Islamic republic leadership under pressure to not to execute my husband," Akbari said.