Mullah justice

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ImageThe Mirror – By Lord Corbett: Defiant to the end, a convicted killer – and hero to some – faces his executioners.

The Mirror

Mullah justice: Over 1,000 men, women and children hanged in Iran over the past three years

By Lord Corbett Chairman, All-Party Parliamentary group Iran Freedom

ImageDefiant to the end, a convicted killer – and hero to some – faces his executioners.

A hooded gunman stands guard as Majid Kavousifar has the noose placed around his neck.

He gives a final wave to his family and even manages a smile before the bar stool he is standing on is suddenly kicked away. The body of rebel leader Kavousifar, 28 – found guilty of assassinating a judge – swings from a crane watched by a small, silent crowd outside Tehran's Judiciary headquarters.

This is "justice", Mullah-style.

More than 1,000 men, women and children have been hanged in Iran in the three years to last December.

In the first month of this year, 59 died, including a 35-year-old woman after 12 years in Rafsanjan prison. In December two men were stoned to death, a third being spared after he managed to clamber out of a pit where he was buried up to his shoulders.

The official 170 forms of punishment include limb amputation without anaesthetic and gouging out eyes with a spoon-like instrument.

Iran has executed the highest number of children in the world since 1990. Currently 71 sentenced to death await the gallows.

Since the Islamic Republic of Iran was set up 30 years ago, about 120,000 political prisoners have been hanged. About 600,000 have been tortured in the mullahs' notorious prisons. This is medieval murder on an industrial scale.

Spearheading opposition to it all is Maryam Rajavi, 56, presidentelect of the coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran.

One of her sisters was executed by the Shah who was exiled in 1979.

A second was murdered by the mullahs while pregnant.

The Council has 540 members, more than half of them women. It offers Iranians a democratic, secular coalition government through UN-supervised elections.

President Obama has signalled a willingness to talk to Iran about its clandestine nuclear weapons development and its arming of terror groups killing British troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But there needs to be another item on the agenda – how will the mullahs respond to 54 UN condemnations of its human rights violations?

The terror the mullahs use to stay in power is also exported. An estimated seven out of every 10 allied troops are killed in Iraq by roadside bombs supplied by Iran.

They also train and pay militants in their use. That government, our own and the US, were given these details by the Resistance.

The mullahs also train, pay and arm Hizbollah who try to strangle the infant democracy in Lebanon as well as Hamas in Gaza. The heart of terrorism beats in Tehran. It is also where its bankers are. The mullahs are brazen in their menace.

Sir John Sawyers, Britain's ambassador to the UN, said last week: "The Iranians wanted to strike a deal whereby they stopped killing our forces in Iraq in return for them being allowed to carry on with their nuclear programme."

For seven years, led by then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, Britain, France and Germany tried to bribe Iran into ceasing nuclear development.

The policy failed – simply giving the mullahs more time to get nearer to building the weapons.

The UN's nuclear watchdog the IAEA, last week reported that Iran had enough enriched uranium to build a bomb.

Despi te sanctions it was expanding its nuclear plant. The world needs to tremble.

The Resistance tries to alert the world to the dangers.

After a long campaign, backed by a majority of MPs, the Resistance was taken off the list of terror organisations by the Court of Appeal.

How did Jack Straw react?

In an interview with state-run news agency IRNA last week he is reported as saying: "There is an independent kind of court… and it decided that the evidence did not support what the Government was saying." As the mullahs hang and torture those who want democratic change the best Mr Straw can say is that it is "regrettable" the Resistance was unshackled.

Those millions of Iranians who oppose tyranny deserve better.

Britain should stand with those seeking freedom, not siding with those who have stolen it from them.

Iranian history

1921: Military chief Reza Khan stages coup and names himself Shah of Persia.

1935: Khan changes name from Persia to Iran.

1941: Allies make pro-German Reza abdicate. His son Reza Pahlavi named Shah.

1963: Shah tries to modernise the country, gives women right to vote.

1966: Women can now divorce, marriage age up to 18.

1979: Shah alienates clergy, leading to riots. He goes into exile. Islamic Ayatollah Khomeini returns after 14 years in exile. Islamic Republic of Iran is declared.

1980: Women's hijabs made compulsory. Start of Iran-Iraq war.

1989: Khomeini issues fatwa on Salman Rushdie, for his Satanic Verses book.

1995: US imposes oil and trade sanctions.

2002: Construction of Iran's first nuclear reactor.

2004: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is made president.

2007: Stand-off with Britain after Iran detains 15 British sailors.

2008: Deadline for Iran to agree incentives in return for halt in nuclear activities passes.

Death toll

120,000 political prisoners have been hanged since the 1979 revolution

An estimated seven out of 10 allied troops are killed in Iraq by roadside bombs exported by Iran

LORD CORBETT

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