A group of independent UN human rights experts on Friday urged Iran to stop the execution [press release] of five Ahwazi activists. UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran Ahmed Shaheed [official website] stated that the execution of Mohammad Ali Amouri, Sayed Jaber Alboshoka, Sayed Mokhtar Alboshoka, Hashem Shabain Amouri and Hadi Rashidi is unacceptable. They have been sentenced on charges of enmity against God, corruption on earth and causing propaganda against the government. He reasoned that individuals should not be sentenced to death "for exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, association, opinion and expression, and affiliation to minority groups and to cultural institutions." Another expert stressed that because Iran is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [text], the Iranian government is obligated to respect the rights it is currently infringing upon. The statement came amid a ruling by the Supreme Court of Iran upholding the death sentences against the five individuals. The activists were arrested in 2011, and there have been allegations that they were subject to torture and other ill-treatment while in detention.
Iran's human rights record has been under international scrutiny. In October Shaheed stated in a report to the UN General Assembly that the Iranian government is torturing human rights activists [JURIST report] and threatening the activists' families with rape or death. In the same month the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] urged the country to halt all executions [JURIST report] because the government had failed to provide the accused with fair trials and due process of law. In June three UN Special Rapporteurs condemned [JURIST report] Iran for executing four members of the Ahwazi Arab minority without providing them fair trials. The three UN Special Rapporteurs further stated that there is no transparency to Iranian court proceedings and that the death penalty should be reserved for only the most serious of crimes. In November 2011 the UN Human Rights Committee [official website] expressed concern [JURIST report] about the protection of individuals' rights in Iran, including the frequency of the use of the death penalty. In January 2011, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran claimed that Iran is on an "execution binge" [JURIST report], killing one prisoner every eight hours.