Saturday, August 4, 2007

EU urges Iran not to execute Kurdish journalists

August 4, 2007
Middle East Times

BRUSSELS -- The European Union Friday called on Iran to halt the executions of two Kurdish journalists convicted for harboring links to armed groups. The EU's Portuguese presidency in a statement also voiced concern at collective public executions that have been taking place in Iran recently. "The EU calls on the Islamic Republic of Iran to halt the executions of Adnan Hassanpour and of Abdolwahed Boutimar, and to ensure that the two accused be given a fair trial" in accordance with the international human rights convention, the statement read. The EU also condemned Iran's "increasing recourse to the death penalty" and "the growing repression against all groups which exercise their right to freely express their opinions, in particular in Kurdish and Arab minority regions." Iran's judiciary confirmed Tuesday for the first time that Adnan Hassanpour and Abdolvahed "Hiva" Botimar were sentenced to death July 16 by a revolutionary court in northeastern Kordestan province as "enemies of God." Iran hanged in public seven people convicted of rape and kidnapping in its holy second city of Mashhad Wednesday, the latest execution of criminals arrested in a crackdown on thugs. Iran has stepped up hangings of such convicts deemed to be a public menace. Kurds form a minority believed to be around several million people in Iran, most of whom live in the northwestern provinces of West Azarbaijan and Kordestan on the border with Turkey and Iraq. The border area is hugely sensitive, with Iranian security forces in recent years fighting banned Kurdish separatist parties, in particular Pejak, a group linked to Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

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