Amnesty slams Iranian execution of two men charged of financial crimes

Vahid Mazloumin appears in court for the first time on charges of manipulating the currency market. (Tasnim News Agency/Reuters)
Updated 14 November 2018
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Amnesty slams Iranian execution of two men charged of financial crimes

LONDON: After two men convicted of financial crimes were executed in Iran, Amnesty International has strongly criticized the Iranian regime.
Vahid Mazloumin and Mohammad Esmail Ghasemi were put to death after a trial Amnesty has called “grossly unfair.”
Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director, Philip Luther, said of the case: “With these abhorrent executions the Iranian authorities have flagrantly violated international law and once again displayed their shameless disregard for the right to life.
“Use of the death penalty is appalling under any circumstances but it is even more horrific given that these men were convicted after a grossly unfair show trial that was broadcast on state television. Under international human rights law, the death penalty is absolutely forbidden for non-lethal crimes, such as financial corruption.
“The shocking manner in which their trial was fast-tracked through Iran’s judicial system without allowing them the chance of a proper appeal is yet another example of the brazen disregard the Iranian authorities have for defendants’ basic due process rights.”
The duo were executed after being charged with “manipulating coin and hard currency markets through illegal and unauthorized deals” as well as smuggling. An unspecified number of other accomplices went to prison.
Iran detained Mazloumin, 58, in July for hoarding two tons of gold coins.
With Iran in the grip of a deepening economic crisis, authorities have carried out mass arrests of individuals whom they accuse of being “financially corrupt” and “saboteurs of the economy.”
According to Amnesty, the pair were convicted and sentenced to flogging, lengthy prison terms and eventually the death penalty after “grossly unfair summary trials.”
In August, Iran’s Supreme Leader approved a request by the Head of Judiciary to set up special courts to deal with crimes involving financial corruption. Since then, these courts have sentenced several people to death.
In a statement, Amnesty said the trials were unfair because defendants were denied access to lawyers of their own choosing, had no right to appeal against sentences of imprisonment during the process and were given only 10 days within which to appeal death sentences.


Donors pledge over $110 million to help Palestinian refugees

Updated 25 June 2019
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Donors pledge over $110 million to help Palestinian refugees

  • The $1.2 billion budget for UNRWA provides education, health care, food and other services to Palestinian refugees
  • The Trump administration cut all funding for UNRWA this year

UNITED NATIONS: Donors have pledged over $110 million to help some 5 million Palestinian refugees, an amount the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees called encouraging.
But Pierre Kraehenbuehl in an announcement Tuesday after a donor’s conference at UN headquarters said, however: “The situation does remain precarious.”
The $1.2 billion budget for the UN Relief and Works Agency provides education, health care, food and other services to refugees in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as well as Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
The Trump administration cut all funding for UNRWA this year.
Kraehenbuehl said the agency covered its expenses through May 30 but is now operating in deficit.
He expressed hope the $110 million will bridge UNRWA’s funding in coming months but said another pledging conference will be needed.