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Iranian writer sentenced to death
Iran, action created 2.8.2014, petition is active
Iranian writer and poet Arzhang Davoodi, who has been imprisoned for eleven years for his political views, was on July 20, 2014 re-sentenced on new charges of "hatred of God" and sentenced to death. Arzhang is a prisoner of conscience, detained and sentenced to death for nonviolent political activism and for his writing career. Amnesty International therefore calls for his immediate and unconditional release.
Despite the apparent lack of evidence and after an unfair judicial proceeding, Arzhang Davoodi was convicted of alleged membership of a banned group of the Mujahedeen (PMOI). On June 3, Davoodi gave his defense before the revolutionary court in Bandar Abbas that took less than an hour. The Court then referred the case to the revolutionary court in Karaj, responsible for the death penalty, before which neither Davoodi nor his lawyer were allowed to come forward.
Arzhang Davoodi was arrested in 2003, and for a long time he was held in solitary confinement. They tortured him, and he was not allowed to meet his lawyer or his family. In March 2005 he was sentenced to 28 years in prison for "spreading propaganda against the system" and "the establishment and management of an organization against the government." Later his sentence was reduced to 10 years. But in March 2014, HE received another two years in prison for "insulting the Supreme Leader." Davoodi also appealed against this punishment.
Davoodi is part of a group of mujahideen but has no ties with other armed groups. The charges brought against him involves his relation to PMOI which was only on the basis that in prison he insisted that his group was called the official name of the mujahideen.
Arzhang Davoodi was arrested on 9 November 2003 and taken to an unknown location. There he was held for 10 days, during which he was tortured. Then he was taken to a prison and placed in solitary confinement in Evin. There, he spent 109 days with no possibility to meet with lawyers or family. In March 2005, the Revolutionary Court on the basis of false accusations sentenced him to 25 years in prison. He was accused of running a cultural and educational center in Tehran, where he participated in the filming of the documentary Forbidden Iran, where he talked about human rights violations in the country or by writing the establishment of an Iranian secular regime. His sentence was later reduced to 10 years, and his performance ended in September 2013.
During 11 years in prison Arzhang Davoodi was repeatedly tortured. He had broken teeth, injured eye, ear drum, shoulder and knee. He was repeatedly transferred between prison in Tehran and the central prison in Bandar Abbas, which is even now far from his family and in very bad conditions. Food is scarce, and sanitation facilities are inadequate.
In November 2012, Arzhang Davoodi was accused of new charges of "hatred of God" (moharebeh) and the writer of the court in Karaj in 2014 sentenced him to death in absentia. This accusation is apparently based on the statement that Arzhang Davoodi wrote on the wall of the prison bathrooms. According to Davoodi, under the rule of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khomeini in Iran, rampant injustice and inequality will prevail.
According to Article 287 of the Islamic Penal Code, which came into force in May 2013, individuals may be sentenced to death for "hatred of God" only if he/she has resorted to using weapons. Mere membership or support of an organization who used guns against the state cannot place the individual under the death penalty.