UPDATE: Kamangar Not Executed; 10 Others Hanged
(26 November 2008) Farzad Kamangar, an Iranian Kurdish teacher sentenced to death, was not executed today as it was feared. He was taken from his cell yesterday and reports from Evin prison indicated his sentence might be implemented today. However, nine men and one woman were hanged in the early hours of 26 November inside Evin prison.
Kamangar’s lawyer, Khalil Bahramian, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that he as able to meet with Kamanagar today at Evin Prison. According to Bahramian, Kamangar’s appeal is still under review and his sentence cannot be implemented. The Campaign called on the Iranian authorities to cancel his sentence and immediately release Kamangar as the prosecutor has produced no evidence against him on charges of membership in the armed Kurdish group PKK.
The nongovernmental organization Iran Human Rights (http://iranhr.net/spip.php?article794 ) quoted Iranian media reports that the 10 executed persons were convicted of murder, robbery, and kidnapping.
After China, Iran carries out more executions than any other country. Since President Ahmadinejad took office, executions in Iran have increased 300 percent. Although authorities routinely justify the high number of executions as necessary for public safety and as a crime-fighting measure, there are no indications that such policies have reduced serious crimes in Iran.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran opposes capital punishment in all circumstances as a violation of the right to life and due to its cruelty and irreversibility, and believes it only promotes further violence throughout the society.