For those who compare Israel to Iran, I alert them to the following:
A rights group campaigning to free Ms Ashtiani earlier said that "authorities in Tehran have given the go-ahead to Tabriz prison" to execute her, possibly on Wednesday or soon after.
The International Committee Against Stoning then said that Ms Ashtiani had not been executed on Wednesday because of the global protests the news aroused.
A number of countries, including France, the US, the UK and Canada, had condemned her possible execution.
"We call on the Iranian authorities to respect basic human rights, cease their policy of repression and intimidation and release those who are currently being held without justification," said Mr Kouchner after his telephone call with Mr Mottaki.
From The New York Times:
During a visit to the West Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday, Britain’s Foreign Minister, William Hague, told reporters: “I think this is a barbaric punishment, I think it will damage Iran in the eyes of the world. It would be much better not to proceed with it. I think many people across the world are outraged by the punishment and by the prospect of being, of it being carried out. I would urge them to desist from it.”
INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN IRAN
Reliable sources continue to present reports to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, indicating widespread, clandestine group executions of hundreds of inmates. Those executed were charged with transportation and storage of drugs and were held in Vakilabad prison in Mashad. The Campaign has learned that executions were carried out on 5 and 12 October 2010 inside Vakilabad prison. Reliable sources told the Campaign that a total of 23 prisoners, thirteen on 5 October, and ten on 12 October. The executions were carried out without any regard for official Islamic laws or respect for fair judicial procedures. Lawyers and family members were not present nor given prior notice. A number of former prisoners from Vakilabad prison have reported forced confessions under torture and pressure.
The inmates on death row were collected from various wards of Mashad’s Vakilabad prison only a few hours before being executed and were taken to the “Execution Hallway” near the entrance area of the Visitation Hall, and executed in a row.
In recent weeks, authorities have reported on several occasions about the executions of several drug trafficking suspects in various prisons in Iran, but there have been no statements about the executions that took place inside the Mashad prison. Iran’s Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, is the only official who implicitly confirmed the news during an interview with Der Spiegel. On 12 October, Attorney General Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei said in a press conference that he has ordered Iranian prosecutors nationwide to try drug-related suspects in the shortest time possible, and to not show any mercy in implementing verdicts. He even implicitly stated during the press conference that in some cases, innocent people might have been executed. “Some of the people who are arrested with drugs are not the main drug traffickers, and they don’t benefit from this materially, but the main drug trafficker deceives these people while he is sitting in a safe place and another person is tried in his place, and even executed,” he said. (Fars News Agency)
In an interview with the Campaign last August, a human rights activist in Mashad reported about Mohseni Ejei’s directive regarding the widespread executions of drug related suspects. Former prisoners from Vakilabad prison reported to the Campaign secret group executions of at least 500 people between March 2009 and August 2010. With the executions in September and October 2010 it seems that the numbers of executions are again rising. The Campaign has repeatedly called on Iranian authorities to release statistics pertaining to the number of prisoners who were executed in this prison, and to provide accurate information to the public. However, authorities have failed to furnish the information.
According to several former prisoners of Vakilabad prison who were interviewed by the Campaign, between July 2009 and March 2010, nearly 250 people were executed. Sixty-eight people in August 2009, forty people in October 2009, thirty people in January 2010, approximately twenty people in February 2010, and more than fifty people in April 2010. These figures are separate from the number of women executed inside the Women’s Ward, for which exact numbers are unknown. Also, these figures are separate from the number of inmates transferred to Vakilabad to be executed from towns surrounding Mashad, particularly from Torbat Heydarieh and Fariman. Also, according to the Campaign’s sources, in August 2010, every week on four separate occasions, group and mass executions of about seventy people were carried out. On Wednesday, 4 August 2010, eighty-nine people, and on Wednesday 18 August 2010, sixty-seven people were executed. On 28 July 2010 and 10 August 2010, a number between sixty and seventy were also executed. The exact number of people executed on all these dates is unknown.
In an interview with the Campaign, Ahmad Ghabel, a theological scholar and well-known student of the late Ayatollah Montazeri, said that in the three months between March 2010 and May 2010 when he was a prisoner inside Ward 6/1 of Vakilabad prison, he witnessed the executions of fifty people up close, and one time even loaned his pen to inmates who were going to be executed in order to write their last will. Also, in interviews with various media outlets, Ghabel said that these executions were in violation of Sharia Law, and distant from justice. He asked “if these execution sentences were without any problems, why were they being carried out secretly?”
The disclosure of these widespread clandestine group executions in Vakilabad prison by Ghabel led to his arrest in September again, and his transfer back to Vakilabad.
At this time, the Campaign is being told hundreds of prisoners on death row are awaiting execution inside Vakilabad Prison.