Abdolreza Ghanbari, Another Ashura Protester, Receives Death Sentence
Abdolreza Ghanbari, accused of enmity against God (moharebeh) for participation in Ashura protests, has been sentenced to death by Judge Salavati. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has been informed that Ghanbari did not have access to a fair trial or to select a lawyer for his defense.
Following a meeting with Ayatollah Nouri Hamedani in Qom on Monday, Tehran’s Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said that the verdicts of six Ashura suspects have been issued and the sentences are under appeal. Earlier, the Prosecutor’s Office requested death sentences for eleven individuals arrested on Ashura. Tehran’s Prosecutor also said that the Judiciary has only tried members of “anti-revolutionary groups and organizations,” and has released individuals “remorseful” about their activities. No details have been published of such actions.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran urged the Iranian Judiciary authorities to provide conditions for a fair trial, such as free access to a lawyer for individuals such as Abdolreza Ghanbari, and to refrain from rushing to execution defendants whose charges have no reasonable relation to their sentences. Considering the irreversibility of death sentences, and serious speculation about the political nature of many of the sentences issued after the 12 June 2009 elections, the Iranian Judiciary’s enthusiasm for issuing moharebeh and death sentences is a grave threat to human rights.
Two Iranian political prisoners, Arash Rahmanipour and Mohammad Reza Alizamani, were executed on 28 January 2010 without their lawyers’ or their families’ knowledge about the execution time, deeply wounding public confidence.
Ashura, which is the holiest religious day in Iran, turned into one of the bloodiest days of the year on 27 December 2009; at least seven protesters were killed and hundreds were arrested. Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi has also said that 250 people detained during Ashura protests have been issued indictments and many of them have already been tried.
Alireza Ghanbari is 42 years old and is from the poverty-stricken area of Ghiamdasht in Varamin. Ghanbari is a teacher and it is said that his only “crime” has been to participate in the public protests of Ashura and chanting slogans against Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader. After his arrest on Ashura, he was detained at the “2-A” Security Ward, related to IRGC’s Intelligence unit.
He was tried on 30 January 2010 without his family’s knowledge and without the right to select an attorney or to meet with his family. In his trial court, presided by Judge Salavati, he admitted to participating in the Ashura protests and other matters. A person who follows Ghanbari’s case closely told the Campaign that Ghanbari’s confessions have been extracted under pressure and torture. He has been denied the right to an attorney and has recently been transferred to Evin Prison’s General Ward.
Like the other cases the Tehran Prosecutor referenced, Ghanbari’s case is currently in the appeal stage. Since the names of those sentenced to death have not been announced, Ghanbari’s lack of possibility to choose his own attorney and his family’s lack of knowledge about the details of his case increase serious concern about his execution and that of others arrested after the elections.