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Iran prison officials executed over protester deaths

The Iranian government has executed two men convicted of killing [JURIST report] three anti-government protesters in prison in 2009, according to a report Sunday by pro-government website Khabarnameh Daneshjooyan. The execution of the two prison officials was reported [AFP report] by Abdolhossein Rouhalamini, the father of one of the deceased protesters. The men were charged with torturing and eventually killing Mohammad Kamrani, Amir Javadi-far and Mohsen Ruholamini while they were detained at Kahrizak jail south of Iran. The two men were sentenced to death by hanging last June in a highly controversial trial [JURIST report] that included nine other defendants. Observers had accused the Iranian government of conducting the trial as a mere political move. The Iranian government was also sharply criticized by both pro-democracy leaders and government supporters for the death of the protesters, who were incarcerated after the June 2009 disputed presidential election [JURIST news archive]. Authorities initially claimed that the three detainees had died from meningitis, holding that the torture accusations were the propaganda of the opposition party. This viewpoint began to shift in August when government officials spoke out [JURIST report] against the abuse of protesters detained in Iranian prisons and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei [official website] ordered the closure of Kahrizak prison as a result.

In August, Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi was named among three top judicial officials who were suspended [JURIST report] in connection with the detainee deaths. The suspension will strip Mortazavi of his judicial immunity and clear the way for his prosecution. Last January, an Iranian parliamentary inquiry found [JURIST report] that Mortazavi was responsible for the deaths. The report alleged that Mortazavi, the prosecutor responsible for overseeing the Kahrizak prison, ordered that the prisoners be transferred to Kahrizak, where they were tortured and beaten to death. The US government and EU issued a joint statement [JURIST report] in February condemning the human rights violations following the presidential election. In December, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] labeled [JURIST report] the human rights violations committed by the Iranian government following the election among the worst of the past 20 years.

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