Iran executes prisoner linked to opposition group

AP News
Posted: Jun 01, 2014 9:36 AM

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran executed a prisoner Sunday linked to the opposition group Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, the official IRNA news agency reported, despite a last-minute plea from Amnesty International, which said he had not been given a fair trial.

The report said Gholamreza Khosravi was sentenced to death in 2010 for providing photos of the country's military facilities as well as financial aid to the MEK, and for helping to recruit for the group.

IRNA said the death sentence was approved by the country's Supreme Court after an appeal by Khosravi's lawyer. It said the trial was held in a court in Tehran which deals with security-related charges, and that Khosravi's lawyer was present. The report did not detail the method of execution, but death sentences in Iran are usually carried out by hanging.

Iranian state television said Khosravi was executed after being convicted of "spying for foreigners."

Khosravi was arrested in 2007, after having been previously detained from 1981 to 1986, IRNA said.

The MEK began fighting to overthrow the Islamic Republic shortly after the 1979 revolution that toppled a pro-Western monarchy.

The group was based in Iraq during the reign of Saddam Hussein, who waged an eight-year war against Iran in the 1980s that killed more than 1 million people on both sides.

Amnesty International on Saturday had urged Iran not to execute Khosravi, who was sentenced to death in 2010 for "enmity against God."

"Yet again Iranian authorities are about to execute a man who did not even receive a fair trial in total disregard of both international law and the Iranian law," said Hassiba Hadj Saharoui, Amnesty's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Amnesty said Iran executes more people than any other country except China, with at least 151 officially acknowledged death sentences since the start of the year. The rights group said its sources have reported another 180 executions in the same period.

Iran insists it only executes those convicted in fair trials, and that criticism of its judicial system is part of a Western effort to undermine the Islamic Republic.