Iranian Journalist to Hang

Peter Tatchell writes:

An Iranian Baluch journalist and civil rights campaigner, Yaghub Mehrnehad, aged 28, has been sentenced to death for an unknown offence, after torture and an unfair trial conducted behind closed doors, accordingc to Amnesty International.

His execution is imminent. He is likely to be hanged in public, using the barbaric slow strangulation method favoured by the Tehran regime. It is deliberately designed to maximise the pain and prolong the suffering of the victim.

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) have condemned the death sentence.

The exact reasons for Mehrnehad’s arrest are not known, although some Iranian press reports in July 2007 state that a man identified as Ya’qub M had been detained on suspicion of “aiding Abdolmalek Rigi”, the head of the Baluchistan nationalist organisation, Jondallah, which is resisting Tehran’s rule over Baluch territory.

In the absence of any evidence for such claims, we can only assume that what prompted the Tehran authorities to act against Mehrnehad was his criticism of the Tehran government for neglecting Sistan and Baluchistan province, his campaigning for the recognition of the Baluchi language, his work with the Islamic Human Rights Commission, a national non-government organisation, and his plan to establish a human rights committee in Baluchistan. These not illegal or violent activities. They do not justify any punishment, let alone execution.

A Facebook support group has been set up to coordinate efforts to save Mehrnehad’s life.

Amnesty International is urging protests to the Iranian authorities, especially to the Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei. He can be contacted via The Office of the Supreme Leader, Islamic Republic Street – Shahid Keshvar Doust Street, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran. Email: