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Published Friday, December 31, 2004

Executions are not an important matter”, Foreign Affairs Ministry’s senior spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told journalists.

PARIS, 31 Dec. (IPS) Recent statements by some officials from the Judiciary and the Foreign Affairs Ministry concerning death sentences pronounced by some local courts against young women have stirred the anger of Iranians inside and outside the country.

“Executions are not an important matter”, Foreign Affairs Ministry’s senior spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told journalists last week when asked about international and national reactions to the death sentence against Ms Leyla Mafi, an 18 years old girl who has a mental age of eight.

Leyla was condemned to death by a religious court in the central city of Arak on charges of "acts contrary to chastity" by controlling a brothel, having intercourse with blood relatives and giving birth to an illegitimate child. She is to be flogged before she is executed. She had apparently “confessed” to the charges

Leyla was forced into prostitution by her mother when she was eight years old, according to the 28 November report published by the London-based Amnesty International, and was raped repeatedly thereafter. She gave birth to her first child when she was nine, and was sentenced to 100 lashes for prostitution at around the same time. At the age of 12, her family sold her to an Afghan man to become his “temporary wife”.

Leyla’s case was the fourth in the past six months, as two other young girls had been sentenced to death before her and 30 years-old Hajiyeh Esma’ilvand, was condemned to death by stoning.

Mr. Asefi, who is also a Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister, was reacting to a European Union declaration calling on the Islamic Republic to have more respect for human rights, warning that otherwise, the 25-members club would have difficulties in its relations with Tehran, including signing an important Trade and Cooperation Agreement.


“We have no lesson to receive from the Westerners”, he said, accusing the West of “double standard” practice, “like their treatment of the Palestinians and the Israelis”.

At almost the same time, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroodi, an Iraqi born cleric appointed by Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, the leader of the Islamic Republic, as the Head of Judiciary said Iran’s Islam-based laws are the world’s “most advanced, human, democratic and just”.

He strongly attacked France for its laws forbidding “visible exhibition” of all signs pointing to a religion, whether Muslim, Christian or Jewish, describing the measure as “anti Islamic” and aimed at “preventing Muslim girls schools”.

“Deducting from Mr. Asefi’s statements, death sentences only became important once applied”, an Iranian scholar pointed out in the popular Iranian website “Gooya” on condition of anonymity, adding that according to Iranian officials, putting people, mostly women to death, is an ordinary practice in Muslim nations.

For his part, Mr. Mas’oud Behnoud, a veteran Iranian journalist who fled Iran last week after serving three months in prison said Mr. Asefi’s defense of death and his “unfortunate” answer to international reaction against such practices in the Islamic Republic helps to understand the isolation of the regime at the world stage.

One of the female journalists had been forced to confess to sex with at least six leading reformist personalities

“What one of Iran’s top diplomats in the one hand and the head of the regime’s Judiciary on the other said recently, statements like we have no lessen to get from outsiders or defending the principle of execution or Iran’s Judiciary is the best system in the world, at a time that writers of weblogs and journalists are forced to write public confessions praising their butchers, interrogators, torturers and prison guards or young girls are condemned to death is the best example of showing the distance that separates the Islamic Republic from the international community”, he wrote in his weblog, which was hacked recently.

The cases of the weblog writers and journalists who “confessed” to their “mistakes” and demanded “pardon” from the leader and the Iranian people while thanking their interrogators and prison guards was raised by Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Ali Abtahi in his new weblog, confirming that the confessions had been obtained under physical and psychological pressures they were subject while in solitary confinement.

According to the former Vice president for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs who’s personal weblog, “Webnevesht”, had been hacked, at least five of the nine journalists and owners of weblogs have confirmed that they had been ill-treated in prison and have been physically and psychologically tortured.

Acting on orders from President Mohammad Khatami as member of the Committee to Supervise the Application of the Constitution, Mr. Abtahi, who resigned recently from his post met Hanif Mazrou’i, (Ms) Fereshteh Qazi, Qoreyshi, (MS) Mahboubeh Mollaqoli and Nader Pour, who described to him some of the tortures the jailers and interrogators inflicted on them, including accusing some important reformist personalities of immoral acts, giving the names and addresses of people wanted by the Judiciary or implying others for having sex, drinking alcohol or smoking drugs etc.

“One of the female journalists had been forced to confess to sex with at least six leading reformist personalities. Others said they had been badly beaten up when theyr refused to denounced friends or unknown people. One of them was latter transported to hospital for wounds and she is still under difficult condition”, he disclosed, referring to the case of Ms. Fereshteh Qazi. ENDS EXECUTIONS 311204


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As of January 2009, this site is definitely closed, but you can follow Safa Haeri on his new blog: DAMAVAND at



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