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Rights Group Criticizes Death Sentences For Iranian Protesters

A U.S.-based Iranian rights group is protesting the 11 death sentences thus far given to people arrested in postelection protests last year, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran released a statement on April 26 accusing the Iranian judiciary of issuing the sentences following "unfair trials and [with] insufficient evidence" to justify any type of punishment.

The sentences are part of a larger crackdown following Iran's June 2009 presidential election, when hundreds of opposition activists were arrested.

Hadi Ghaemi, the executive director of the organization, highlighted the case of 20-year-old student Mohammad-Amin Valian. He said Valian is a protester who was sentenced to death in March.

Ghaemi expressed concern that Valian's appeal of his death sentence will be rejected by the court.

Ghaemi also said that last week three family members, along with two of their friends, were sentenced to death for their participation in the election protests.

Two of the sentences were immediately upheld by an appeals court.

"We expect the Iranian judiciary and government to release the prisoners, for it is obvious that they have been jailed and given heavy sentences based on political grounds," Ghaemi said.