Kur­dish stu­dent’s ex­e­cu­tion halted in Iran: lawyer

The Pak Banker - - 6i Nternational -

TEHRAN: Iran has called a last-minute halt to the ex­e­cu­tion of a Kur­dish stu­dent ac­tivist con­victed of "wag­ing war against God" for sup­port­ing an anti-govern­ment group, his lawyer was quoted as say­ing.

Law stu­dent Habi­bol­lah Lat­ifi was ar­rested in 2007 in western Iran ac­cused of car­ry­ing ac­tiv­i­ties on be­half of "an­ti­rev­o­lu­tion­ary" groups, Hu­man Rights Watch said in a state­ment.

He was sen­tenced to death in 2008, it said.

"We were in­formed that Lat­ifi was go­ing to be ex­e­cuted on Sun­day at dawn...but his ex­e­cu­tion has been stopped for fur­ther re­view of the case," the stu­dent news agency ISNA quoted lawyer Ne­mat Ah­madi as say­ing.

"He was sen­tenced to death for back­ing the PJAK group."

No ju­di­ciary of­fi­cials were avail­able for com­ment.

The Party of Free Life of Kur­dis­tan (PJAK), is an off­shoot of the Kur­dis­tan Work­ers Party (PKK) which took up arms in 1984 for an eth­nic home­land in south­east Turkey and north­west Iran.

Op­po­si­tion web­sites said Lat­ifi was sen­tenced to death for "in­volve­ment in ter­ror­ist acts and mem­ber­ship in an armed op­po­si­tion group" in the north­west­ern Kur­dish city of Sanan­daj.

Un­der Iran's Is­lamic law, wag­ing war against God, or "mo­harebe," is pun­ish­able by death. Iran sees PJAK, which seeks au­ton­omy for Kur­dish ar­eas in Iran and shel­ters in Iraq's northeastern border prov­inces, as a ter­ror­ist group.

Like Iraq and Turkey, Iran has a large Kur­dish mi­nor­ity, mainly liv­ing in the north­west and west of the coun­try.

At his trial, the govern­ment said Lat­ifi was in­volved in sev­eral ter­ror­ist acts, in­clud­ing an at­tempt to as­sas­si­nate a pros­e­cu­tor and an at­tack at a po­lice sta­tion in the western prov­ince of Kur­dis­tan, Hu­man Rights Watch said.

His death sen­tence has been up­held by the Supreme Court but his lawyer said he hoped it sen­tence would be com­muted. "We had urged the ju­di­ciary chief to use his author­ity and halt the sen­tence based on Lat­ifi's request," Ah­madi said.

"Iran's Supreme Leader Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei has the le­gal right to par­don Lat­ifi...We are hop­ing for a lighter sen­tence."

Rights groups had called for a halt to his ex­e­cu­tion, ask­ing for the case to be re­viewed by an in­de­pen­dent judge.

Iran ac­cuses the United States, Bri­tain and Is­rael of try­ing to top­ple the cler­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment by sup­port­ing "an­ti­rev­o­lu­tion­ary" groups. The three coun­tries deny the claim.

Tehran Pros­e­cu­tor-Gen­eral Ab­bas Ja­fari Do­latabadi said a per­son ac­cused of spying for Is­rael had also been sen­tenced to death, the semi-of­fi­cial Mehr news agency re­ported on Mon­day. -Reuters

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