22 June 2005 :a group of Iranians were handed down harsh sentences ranging from execution and amputation of limbs to lashes and prison time, accused of armed robbery, according to today’s edition of the state-run Kayhan daily.
A court in the city of Ahwaz (southern Khuzestan province) announced that three individuals charged with “armed robbery” from the group of thirteen were sentenced to execution.
The same court also sentenced two individuals to have “the fingers on their right hands and their left feet amputated”, and seven other individuals to 10 years imprisonment and 74 lashes each.
Iranian opposition groups and human rights activists have in the past accused the Iranian government of executing political dissidents under the pretext of common criminals.
In April, at least 62 people were killed and over 1,000 arrested by government forces in week-long clashes between people and security forces in Iran’s Khuzestan province.
Fierce fighting brought the province to a complete stand-still, after State Security Forces opened fire on anti-government demonstrations in Ahwaz. The city itself was placed under a de facto martial law after a number of SSF agents were killed by angry demonstrators.
At the time, the Iranian opposition group People’s Mojahedin said that of the more than 1,000 people arrested many were transferred to undisclosed locations.
Rumour has quickly spread among the local population that many of the arrested people were either secretly murdered or sentenced to death after having taken part in the demonstrations.