09 October 2009
Iranian protestor sentenced to death
According to the Guardian the first death sentence has been passed against a defendant accused of involvement in the mass protests in Iran against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's stolen election. A revolutionary court in Tehran handed the penalty to Mohammad Reza Ali-Zamani, 37, after convicting him of muhabereh – taking up arms against Iran's Islamic system.
Ali-Zamani had confessed to working for an exile group, the Iran Monarchy Committee, which Iranian officials describe as a terrorist organisation. Prosecutors alleged that he plotted political assassinations with US military officials in Iraq before returning to Iran "aiming at causing disruption during and after the election".
Ali-Zamani admitted guilt during a series of show trials that began in August in. Many senior pro-reformist politicians confessed to fomenting the unrest that followed Ahmadinejad's victory. Needless to say these trials have been rightly condemned. It is pretty certain that the defendants were tortured to force them to confess.
Ali-Zamani is not well known. His indictment said he had joined the Iran Monarchy Committee after hearing about it on a television satellite channel. His activities are said to have included distributing anti-regime CDs and propaganda, as well as copies of the Satanic Verses (!!!!!!).
Ali-Zamani was accused of meeting an American called Frank in the Iraqi city of Irbil and passing information about conditions inside Iran in exchange for money. He was also alleged to have received instructions on how to build a chemical weapon from a fellow member of the IMC. Another part of the indictment alleges that he met two US military officers named "Mike and Robert" and gave them information on Iranian officials who had allegedly been targeted for assassination.
Prosecutors claimed that Ali-Zamani – who they say had a criminal record for forging revolutionary guard and judicial stamps – took part in an operation, called Salman, in which he gave the IMC information on members of the hardline Basij volunteer militia. They said he had conducted "vast communication activities" inside Iran before being arrested by intelligence officers.
The allegations were dismissed by the IMC, which is run by Iranians living in Europe and the US. A committee spokeswoman, Dordaneh Fouladvand, confirmed that Ali-Zamani had worked with the organisation but insisted he had played no role in the post-election protests. His activities had been limited to working for its radio station, Radio Tondar, she said.
This is clearly an exemplary sentence from what was most certainly a show trial. Is this going to deter protestors? I doubt it somehow. The Iranian government has just created a martyr in the making.