MEFD condemns execution of Iranian poet Hashem Shaabani


ShaabaniLondon, 12 Feb. (MEFD) Middle East Forum for Development condemns in the strongest terms the execution of Hashem Shaabani, an Iranian poet and teacher from Iran’s Ahwazi Arab minority. Shaabani was sentenced to death following a grossly unfair trial in July 2013 by Branch Two of the Ahwaz Revolutionary Court along with fourteen others on charges of “enmity against God” and for forming a “threat” to national security. Local human rights group reported that the Iranian regime hanged Shaabani alongside Hadi Rashedi, a fellow teacher, at an undisclosed location on 27 January 2014. Shaabani, who was the founder of the Dialogue Institute aiming to promote understanding of Arabic culture and literature in Iran, was very concerned about the treatment of ethnic Arabs in the province of Khuzestan. He was imprisoned in early 2011 because of his cultural activities on charges of “waging war on God” and suffered severe torture and interrogation at the hands of the Iranian authorities. He was forced to a televised confession which was broadcast on national television. Shaabani’s execution highlights previous concerns raised by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, who emphasised in his 2013 report that the Iranian regime continues to repress ethnic and religious minorities and violates their basic rights of freedom of expression. Amnesty International recently raised the alarm regarding a surge of executions in Iran. The human rights group specified that the regime executed forty people during the first two weeks of January of this year. Middle East Forum for Development calls on the Iranian authorities to establish a moratorium on executions and to release all prisoners of conscience who have been imprisoned for exercising their basic rights of freedom of expression.

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