Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Publish date: March 04 • Printable version    

Death sentences handed to Iranian protesters challenged by reformist cleric

Ayatollah Sanei

Outspoken reformist cleric, Ayatollah Sanei, in response to a question regarding the charge of enmity with God, (moharebeh) says that “protests against the government and its actions” do not constitute” moharebeh.

Ayatollah Sanei's religious pronouncement was published in his official website saying: “Whenever an organized group protests against the government and its actions, it is definitely not fighting against God (mohareb).”

According to the pronouncement, the actions of the protesters constitute “defence of their rights and grievance against the oppression that they have suffered.”

Aytollah Sanei maintains that referring to these individuals as enemies of God (moharebs) is akin to “slandering Islam” and one of the most heinous sins of all.

He continues to write that for one who is proven to be “mohareb” there are four punishments mentioned in Islam and execution is only one of them which is used in very “rare” cases such as in terrorist operations.

Earlier Iranian Interior Minister had said that those who have participated in “disturbances” are enemies of God “moharebs,” and they will be dealt with as “top clerics and the judiciary” see fit.

So far 14 post-election detainees have been sentenced to death for the charge of “moharbeh.” The judiciary has announced that the sentences will be executed if they are confirmed by the appeals court.

In the same vein, hardline cleric, Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi refuted having issued any pronouncement calling Ashura Day protesters as enemies of God (moharebs).

Earlier a reformist website had reported that the death sentence of Mohammad Amin Valian was based on Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi’s pronouncement. Neday-e Sabz-e Azadi website still persist on its report despite Ayatollah Makerem Shirazi’s announcement today.

The Shiite cleric’s announcement says: “Some young people caught up in the heat of the recent excitement have participated in certain kinds of violence and need to be guided and reformed. If they are not connected with any corrupted groups and foreign corruption, they are eligible to be acquitted.”

Mohammad Amin Valian, a Damghan University student was sentenced to death based on a captured image of him throwing a rock. The twenty-year-old’s sentence was confirmed today in the appeals court.

On Ashura Day, December 27, Iran’s election protesters continued their streets protests against the victory of Mahmaoud Ahmadinejad in the June presidential elections which they claim was fraudulent.

During that day’s protests, at least eight people were killed and 500 were arrested.

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