One day after the secret executions of two Ahwazi Arab political prisoners -- Ali Chebieshat and Sayed Khaled Mousawi -- the regime in Iran is scheduled to execute four Sunni Kurdish men in Rajai-Shahr prison on June 15th.
The families of the four men, Hamed Ahmadi, Jahangir Dehghani, Kamal Molaee and Jamshid Dehghani, were contacted on June 13 and told to visit the prisoners for the last time before their execution. All men were then transferred to solitary confinement -- a routine practice by the authorities before an execution.
From left to right: Hamed Ahmadi, Jahangir Dehghani, Kamal Molaee, Jamshid Dehghani.
The four men were accused of killing a senior member of the Sunni clergy with ties to the authorities, even though, according to the regime's own records, the men were arrested in the summer of 2009, months before the clergyman's murder in December 2009. All four men deny the charges and insist that they have been targeted solely for practicing Sunni Islam as opposed to the Shi'ite Islam of the majority of the people in Iran.
According to a report by the Boroumand Foundation, 33 Sunni political prisoners are presently on death row in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The report states that the men were all arrested by the Intelligence Ministry officials, tortured, held in solitary confinement without a right to a lawyer or to contact with their families. The Sunni prisoners were all charged for "armed violent activities," convicted of "enmity against God" and sentenced to death. The Boroumand Foundation indicates that there is one minor among the prisoners.
Sunni Muslims are a minority in Iran, where most Muslims follow the Shi'ite branch of Islam. Most Iranian Sunnis are from the Kurdish and Baluch minorities, and have long complained of state discrimination against them in both law and practice. The authorities often use vaguely worded offenses in Iran's Islamic Penal Code, such as "enmity against God" or "corruptor on earth" to eliminate minorities and political dissidents -- a practice that has become the hallmark of the so-called "moderate" Islamic Republic of Iran.