Sunday, September 09, 2012

For Immediate Release

Iran: Stop Dissident’s Execution
Gholamreza Khosravi Savadjani May Face Imminent Death

(Beirut, September 8, 2012) – Iranian authorities should immediately suspend any planned execution of Gholamreza Khosravi Savadjani and rescind his death sentence, Human Rights Watch said today. Savadjani, convicted of helping the dissident Mojahedin-e Khalq group, may be at imminent risk of execution. He is in Tehran’s Evin prison in Ward 350, where many political prisoners are usually held.

“Iran is one of the world’s leading abusers of the death penalty and commonly applies the penalty to political dissidents like Savadjani,” said Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Savadjani’s life hangs in the balance even though the authorities never asserted that he used violence against the state.”

Unconfirmed reports suggest authorities may execute Savadjani, 50, as early as September 10, 2012. A revolutionary court in Tehran sentenced Savadjani to death for the crime of moharebeh, or “enmity against God” in 2010 for cooperating with a television station abroad that is affiliated with Mojahedin-e Khalq, which the Iranian authorities consider to be a terrorist organization. Iran’s Supreme Court confirmed Savadjani’s death sentence on April 21.

Several informed sources provided information on the case against Savadjani to Human Rights Watch that raises serious due process and fair trial concerns. Authorities initially arrested him in 2008 and prosecutors charged him with espionage for his alleged transmission of information, photos, and possibly financial assistance to Simay-e Azadi, a London-based television station run by Mojahedin-e Khalq. A revolutionary court in the central city of Rafsanjan convicted Savadjani of espionage and sentenced him to six years in prison.

In July 2011, well into Savadjani’s prison term, the judiciary transferred the file to Branch 26 of the revolutionary court in Tehran, headed by Judge Pirabbasi. The sources told Human Rights Watch that an appeals court in Tehran ordered Branch 26 to change the charges against Savadjani and instead try him under the crime of moharebeh, over objections by Savadjani’s lawyers that a new trial constituted “double jeopardy” under Iran’s criminal procedure code.
In 2010, the lower court convicted Savadjani of moharebeh and sentenced him to death.

Under articles 186 and 190-91 of Iran’s penal code, anyone found responsible for taking up arms against the state, or belonging to an organization taking up arms against the government, may be convicted of moharebeh and sentenced to death.
For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Iran, please visit:

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