Execution as tactic

Earlier this month, the Iranian government executed five Kurdish activists, including a woman. The day before, it hanged six men convicted of drug smuggling.

The political executions are seen as an attempt to discourage public rallies on the anniversary of last year's June 12 election.

The date marks one year after the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which many people inside and outside of Iran believe was rigged. Anti-government protests after the election eventually were squashed.

After the five activists were hanged, the government said they were guilty of conducting bomb attacks. They were convicted of "Moharebeh," or warring against God, the New York Times reported.

"The executions show that this government resorts to any kind of terror and violence to put down any challenge to its authority," said Hadi Ghaemi of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. "This could lay the ground for the execution of postelection protesters."

Four other anti-government activists were executed prior to a February planned rally. Eleven more political prisoners have been sentenced to die.

All five of the most recently executed political prisoners denied the charges against them in letters posted on Web sites and said they had been tortured to confess, according to the Times.

Iran is second only to China in government executions, Amnesty International reported.

Executing political prisoners is sheer intimidation and ... >>>

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