Iran’s Supreme Court Revokes Sentences for Six Sunni Prisoners

HRANA News Agency – Iran’s Supreme Court has revoked the sentences for six Sunni prisoners, four of whom were awaiting execution, after admitting that there was ‘insufficient evidence’.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), the Supreme Court admitted that there was insufficient evidence to uphold the convictions of the men, who had been charged with ‘Moharabeh [enmity against God] and acting against national security through involvement in the assassination of Mustafa Jang Zehi [a pro-regime cleric]‘.

The six Sunni activists from Iran’s Baloch minority, including prominent Sunni cleric Shaykh Fathi Mohammad Naghshbandi, were among 11 people arrested in 2012 following the death of pro-government cleric Mustafa Jang Zehi who was killed by unknown men in the Sistan-Baluchestan province.

The Sunni prisoners, who had been subjected to torture whilst in detention and forced to make filmed false ‘confessions’, had repeatedly maintained their innocence.

The family of the deceased had themselves insisted that they believed the Sunni activists were innocent, and had written notarized letters to the Revolutionary Court in Zahedan, the Prosecutors Office, and the Supreme Court calling for their release.

Despite this, the Revolutionary Court in Zahedan sentenced Shaykh Fathi Mohammad Naghshbandi to 15 years imprisonment and exile to Khalkhal.

His son, Shaykh Abdol Ghaffar Naghshbandi, was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment and exile to Ardabil.

Four Sunni activists linked to the clerics, Malik Mohammad Abadian, Javad Abadian, Jaber Abadian and Nezamoddin Mollazadeh, were sentenced to death.

They are now likely to face a retrial after the Supreme Court revoked the sentences.

The case highlights the authorities’ policy of mass arrests in the wake of incidents, whereby dozens of different Sunni preachers and activists, especially those who openly criticize the Shia-led regime, are rounded up under the pretext that they were somehow involved.

In this case alone, the death of Mustafa Jang Zehi has been used to justify the arrest of more than 20 different individuals.

According to reports, a number of men detained in the village of Nasir Abad on 4 January 2015, have now also been charged with supposed ‘involvement’ in his death.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.