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Media rights group urges UN chief to act on Iran executions

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Iran Focus: London, Aug. 15 – A prominent international media rights group called on the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to take action to save two Iranian journalists from execution. Iran Focus

London, Aug. 15 – A prominent international media rights group called on the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to take action to save two Iranian journalists from execution.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) wrote on Monday to Secretary General Ban urging him to intercede in the case of Adnan Hassanpour and Abdolvahed Botimar, two journalists who were sentenced to death on 16 July, and to ask the Islamic Republic of Iran to adhere to the international treaties it has signed concerning civil and political rights, the group announced in a public statement on Tuesday.

“Their most basic rights were violated as they were barred from court when the sentence was handed down”, the letter said. “Even more egregiously, they were not notified of the sentence and only found out from a newspaper”.

Hassanpour and Botimar (who is also known as “Hiva”), were allowed a visit from a family member in their prison in Sanandaj, in Iran’s Kurdish northwestern region, on 8 August, RSF said. “They discovered they had been sentenced to death from a report in the daily Kayhan. They have been on hunger strike for nearly 30 days, and are consuming only water to which some sugar is added”.

The letter pointed out that 11 journalists are currently in prison in Iran for “trying to do their job”.

“Some are serving sentences imposed in trials with no due process. Others are being held without trial. The prison conditions are appalling and they are denied access to the medical treatment they need”, RSF said.

“Journalists are being harassed and threatened by the regime, which is waging a witch-hunt against the independent media”, the letter said. “Many of them have been brought into court on charges which are baseless but are deemed admissible by a compliant judicial system”.

The letter concluded, “These men need to know that they have your support. If the United Nations were to intercede on their behalf, they would be able to recover a degree of dignity and the freedom to work as journalists. We are convinced that you could find ways and arguments to get Iran to respect the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which it has signed”.

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