February 14, 2008

Urgent Appeal to Halt Baloch Execution

Time is rapidly running out to save the life of Yaqub Mehrnehaad from execution by the Iranian authorities. A committed civil rights activist, Mr Mehrnehaad was arrested in Spring 2007 and convicted in a secret trial. UNPO appeals that his life be saved and Iran’s human rights record not blackened by another senseless execution.

Time is rapidly running out to save the life of Yaqub Mehrnehaad from execution by the Iranian authorities.  A committed civil rights activist, Mr Mehrnehaad was arrested in Spring 2007 and convicted in a secret trial.  UNPO appeals that his life be saved and Iran’s human rights record not blackened by another senseless execution.

The Hague, 14 February 2008 – On 26th of April 2007 Mr. Yaqub Mehrnehaad, including his 16 years old brother, was arrested immediately following his attendance at an open discussion meeting by the Iranian secret police in the city of Dozaap (Zahedan). Mr. Yaqub Mehrnehaad is a well known young Baloch civil rights activist amongst Iranian civil society, and has been actively delivering speeches to defend the human and civil rights of Iranian people in many universities and provincial capitals in Iran.

Mr. Mehrnehaad is believed to have been arrested over dubious accusations of being an enemy to Islam and cooperating with western powers who work to destabilize the Iranian Islamic regime. Last week reports indicated Mr. Mehrnehaad has been sentenced to death following a secret trial conducted by Iranian authorities and now faces imminent execution.

This incident is yet another in a long string of repressive actions by the Iranian regime on the Baloch population. UNPO condemns this blatant disrespect of both human and political rights and international legal standards. Furthermore UNPO remains vehemently opposed to the use of capital punishment.

UNPO has consequently appealed to Ms Louise Arbour, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Professor Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Ms Angelika Beer, Chairwoman of European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Iran, Human Rights Watch, H.E. Mr Ali-Asghar Haji, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Kingdom of Belgium, Mr Manouchehr Mottaki. Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, H.E. Mr Bozorgmehr Ziaran, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Kingdom of The Netherlands, Mr Romano Maria La Russa, Vice-Chairman European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Iran, H.E. Mr R. J. van Vollenhoven, Ambassador of The Kingdom of The Netherlands to Iran, and Ms. Yanine Poc, Head of Asia Desk Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to:

- Urge Iran to immediately halt its ongoing persecution of minority communities, including the Baloch community, and to afford all its citizens their full catalogue of political and human rights;

- Remind Iran that serious charges must be examined by open and transparent courts, in full accord with internationally recognized standards of justice;

- Urge Iran to end immediately its use of executions as a weapon of fear and oppression; and

- Continue your efforts to visit Iran in order to evaluate and report on the persecution of the Baloch community by Iranian authorities.