AI urges Iran not to execute Habibollah Latifi

Amnesty International has released an urgent appeal to stop the execution of Habibollah Latifi, a male member of the Kurdish minority in Iran. His execution has been scheduled for 26 December, according to his lawyer. He was sentenced to death following an unfair trial.

Habibollah Latifi, a law student at Azad University in the south western province of Ilam, western Iran, was transferred to solitary confinement on 16 January 2010, prompting fears that he was to be executed. It is not known how long he was held there. His lawyer has now been informed by the Iranian authorities, in accordance with Iranian law, that his execution is scheduled to take place on 26 December,at Sanandaj Prison, Kordestan, in western Iran on 26 December. Executions usually take place at daybreak. It is not known whether his family has been notified of his planned execution by the authorities.

Habibollah Latifi was arrested on 23 October 2007 in Sanandaj and sentenced to death on 3 July 2008 following an unfair trial by the Sanandaj Revolutionary Court. He was convicted of moharebeh (enmity against God), a vague but capital charge, in connection with his membership of and alleged activities on behalf of the Kurdish Independent Life Party (PJAK), a proscribed armed group. His trial was held behind closed doors and his lawyer was not allowed to be present to defend him. Nor was his family allowed to attend the trial. His death sentence was upheld by the Appeal Court in Sanandaj on 18 February 2009.

Amnesty urged the public to write immediately “in Persian, Kurdish, English, or your own language:Urging the authorities to halt Habibollah Latifi’s execution, scheduled for 26 December 2010; Calling on the authorities to commute the death sentence of Habibollah Latifi, imposed for political offences after an unfair trial; Stating that Amnesty International recognizes that governments’ have a responsibility to bring to justice those who commit crimes, in full conformity with international standards of fair trial, those suspected of criminal offences, but opposes the death penalty in all cases as the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.”

Appeals should be sent before 4 February 2011.

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