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Death Sentence Continued to Be Used for Arbitrary and Political Charges

A man and woman joined the ranks of those that are being executed or sentenced to death by the Iranian regime for a variety of charges, many of which are arbitrary or fall under the guise of immorality or sinning against God. According to the Tehran prosecutor, “The convicts were a man and woman who ran a sect and attracted people with sexually related content.” Their case is now pending before the Supreme Court, but both have been sentenced to death for ‘corruption on earth’.

Another man and woman were charged with providing drinks, encouraging corruption and prostitution at a private party. The man is an Iranian American citizen. No judgement for these two had been made as of mid-March.

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Four men were charged with armed robbery in Tehran and sentenced to death for ‘waging war with God’. “The police will follow up on these dossiers decisively and the culprits will be dealt with,” said the Tehran Chief of Police, according to an Iranian state run news agency.

Many of these individuals have been denied legal representation and face torture and ill-treatment during their prison terms prior to their execution being carried out. Political prisoners are not exempt from these harsh sentences.

Marjan Davari, a 50-year-old researcher and translator, was sentenced by Judge Salavati to death. Her charge was the spreading of corruption on earth. She was kept in solitary confinement and interrogated without access to a lawyer or legal advice. Her work included translations of a number books on such topics as spirituality and metaphysics.

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Human rights activists have also been targeted, according to the Human Rights Watch’s report on Iran in 2016. Reports continue to surface about various activists who are being detained, even in early 2017.

In May 2016, a revolutionary court sentenced prominent Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi, who had been detained for a year to a total of 16 years in prison. Her charges included ‘membership in the banned campaign, Step by Step to Stop the Death Penalty’.

Asma Jahangir, the UN Special Rapporteur in Human Rights in Iran criticized Iran for its lack of freedom of speech, which led to the targeting of human rights activists, as well as journalists and bloggers.

“My concerns are that when people are arrested and threatened, they don’t talk and when they don’t enjoy freedom of speech, this is the result. Then we see they get sent to jail,” said Jahangir during an interview with the VOA. She also noted that actions taken against political prisoners is meant to send the message that if you don’t agree with the regime, you will also receive this type of treatment.

Even those who do receive legal assistance, often find their lawyers are prevented from doing their work. Lawyers who defend political prisoners or prisoners of conscience are imprisoned afterwards.

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