Kurdish cousins at imminent risk of execution in Iran after convictions tainted by torture allegations

Cousins Zaniar Moradi and Loghman Moradi who could be executed as early as Saturday. (Amnesty International)
Updated 08 September 2018
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Kurdish cousins at imminent risk of execution in Iran after convictions tainted by torture allegations

LONDON: Two Iranian ethnic minority Kurds who allege they were tortured into making “confessions” are at imminent risk of execution, Amnesty International said Friday.
The human rights organization called on the Iranian authorities to immediately halt the planned executions of cousins Zaniar Moradi and Loghman Moradi who could be executed as early as Saturday.
The two men were held for nine months without access to their lawyers and families.
They say they “confessed” to murder after being tortured, including by being punched, kicked, and tied to a bed and flogged, as well as being threatened with rape. Their request for a judicial review of their case has been repeatedly ignored by the Iranian authorities.
“This is textbook Iranian ‘justice’. Two men are facing imminent execution after being sentenced to death on the basis of ‘confessions’ tainted by torture allegations. Despite the seriousness of the charges against them, their grossly unfair trial lasted just 20 minutes,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International's Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“We urge the Iranian authorities to immediately halt any plans to execute these men, to quash their convictions and sentences, and to order a new trial in proceedings that are in line with international fair trial standards. They must also investigate their torture claims and bring anyone found responsible to justice.”
The detainees have spent the last eight years on death row after being sentenced to death by public hanging in December 2010. They were moved from the general ward of Raja’i Shahr prison in the city of Karaj, north-west of Tehran, to solitary confinement cells in the same prison on 5 September 2018.
The prison authorities telephoned the two men’s families the next day and told them to go to the prison to visit their detained relatives, sparking fears that their executions were imminent.
Zaniar Moradi and Loghman Moradi have both repeatedly pleaded their innocence and denied the accusations against them.
They said that the Ministry of Intelligence targeted them in retaliation for the activities of Zaniar Moradi’s father, Eghbal Moradi, a well-known political dissident who was assassinated in July 2018.
Eghbal Moradi was a former member of the Komala Party of Kurdistan, a banned Iranian Kurdish opposition group based in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and a member of the Kurdistan Human Rights Association.
Zaniar Moradi and Loghman Moradi were arrested by Ministry of Intelligence officials on 1 August 2009 and 17 October 2009 respectively in the city of Marivan, Kurdistan province, and accused of the murder of the son of a senior cleric that had taken place in Marivan on 4 July 2009.
They said they were forced to “confess” to the murder in front of a video camera after being tortured. Their forced “confessions” were then broadcast on a programme that was aired on the state television channel Press TV in early November 2010, before their trial had even taken place.
In December 2010, after a trial that lasted just 20 minutes, Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran convicted them of “enmity against God” and murder. Their lawyer has told Amnesty International that the only evidence against them was their forced “confessions”.


Italy beats China 2-0 to reach World Cup quarterfinals

Updated 36 sec ago
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Italy beats China 2-0 to reach World Cup quarterfinals

  • Italy will play either Japan or the Netherlands on Saturday in Valenciennes
  • China had only allowed one goal in its three group stage games but the talented Italian attack broke down the vaunted defense

MONTPELLIER, France: Valentina Giacinti and Aurora Galli scored and Italy earned its first appearance in the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Cup since 1991 after beating China 2-0 on Tuesday night.
Giacinti created and finished off her 15th-minute opener before Galli’s long strike put the result beyond doubt four minutes after halftime at the stiflingly hot Stade de la Mosson.
Playing in its first World Cup in 20 years, Italy has proven to be one of the revelations of the tournament by making the final eight after winning its group ahead of Brazil and Australia.
Italy will play either Japan or the Netherlands on Saturday in Valenciennes.
China had only allowed one goal in its three group stage games but the talented Italian attack broke down the vaunted defense.
Galli scored after coming on to replace striker Cristina Girelli, who walked off the field late in the first half with an apparent leg problem.
But it was Giacinti who was a force in the early stage of the match.
While Girelli and Barbara Bonansea had combined for five goals in the group phase, Giacinti had yet to score in the tournament.
She threatened on two other occasions Tuesday before finally finding the back of the net. She thought she had struck an early goal but it was ruled offside. Another shot swerved wide of the post after Bonansea intercepted a poor pass by a Chinese defender.
Giacinti then produced the chance that led to her opening goal. After pressuring to win a ball near the touchline, she raced down the flank and found Bonansea, who waited to find left back Elsa Bartoli joining the move. Bartoli’s shot was blocked by China goalkeeper Peng Shimeng, only for Giacinti to pounce on the loose ball and drive it home.
China midfielder Wang Yan did manage to make Italy goalkeeper Laura Giuliani palm her effort over the bar in the 28th minute.
But Peng then had to dive to parry a powerful strike from Valentina Bergamaschi as Italy looked close to a quick second goal against a China team that couldn’t handle its press and its trio of attackers.
Once China settled down and eliminated sloppy passes, the action tilted momentarily to the other half. Forward Li Ying gave Bartoli fits with her dribbling and she made the Italian defenders work with her dangerous crosses.
Italy suffered a bigger blow when it lost Girelli in the 39th.
She was replaced by Galli, who surprised Peng with a right-footed strike that went skimming over the turf and beyond the goalkeeper’s reach.
It was Galli’s third goal of the tournament. She got two in a 5-0 rout of Jamaica, also as a substitute.
China pushed for a goal to spark a comeback, but center backs Sara Gama and Elena Linari kept Giuliani from having to make any significant saves.
Italy has scored nine goals in its three wins in the tournament.
The Italians also maintained their stingy defense with a second clean sheet. Both goals they have conceded so far came on penalties.
China went home with just one goal scored.