Merkel, German city urged to help stop executions of Iranian protesters
“We also call on Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Chancellor Angela Merkel to show their solidarity with the democratic protests by publicly receiving Iranian opposition members.”
Soldiers of the German armed forces Bundeswehr hold the Iranian flag during a ceremony for the diplomatic accreditation of the new ambassador of Iran to Germany in Berlin
(photo credit: FABRIZIO BENSCH / REUTERS)
A prominent German-Iranian dissident on Thursday urged the mayor of the southwestern German city of Freiburg, which has a city partnership with Isfahan, Iran, to exert pressure on the Iranian authorities to stop the executions of five democracy protestors.
“I call on Martin Horn, the mayor of Freiburg, the sister city Isfahans, to put pressure on the Isfahan city administration and judiciary to save the lives of the Isfahan citizens at risk of execution for freedom & democracy,” wrote Kazem Moussavi on Facebook.
On Friday, German NGO Stop the Bomb, which seeks to end Iran’s nuclear weapons program and improve human rights in the Islamic Republic, called on Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Bundestag to apply pressure on the clerical regime of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to halt the executions.
According to an article in the local newspaper Badische Zeitung on Thursday, Horn said that “we will also contact the Isfahan city council. I will make it clear that the city of Freiburg is committed to human rights and fundamentally opposes the death penalty.”
The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) wrote that that “death sentences against five men arrested in Isfahan Province, central Iran, in connection with nationwide protests during December 2017-January 2018, have been upheld by the Supreme Court, a source with knowledge about the case told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on July 30, 2020, despite reports of false confessions extracted under torture and serious evidence contradicting the men’s guilt.”
“Executions are increasingly being used in Iran to quash dissent and intimidate the people into silence,” said Hadi Ghaemi, CHRI executive director. “Without evidence of guilt or due process, these executions are effectively state murder with impunity.”
The death sentences were imposed on Mehdi Salehi Ghaleh-Shahrokhi, Mohammad Bastami, Abbas Mohammadi, Majid Nazari and Hadi Kiani.
Ulrike Becker, spokeswoman for Stop the Bomb, said that “the situation in Iran is critical, and those who are fighting for their freedom in Iran urgently need the solidarity and attention of the democratic world. Only public pressure helps to save the lives of those affected. Germany, which maintains good relations with the regime in Iran,is particularly called upon.”
She continued that “the Federal Government and Parliament should condemn the planned executions in a clear, public and unambiguous manner. In addition, sanctions should be imposed on all judges and judicial officials involved: the US government demonstrated that this is possible. We also call on Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Chancellor Angela Merkel to show their solidarity with the democratic protests by publicly receiving Iranian opposition members, as the Swedish Foreign Ministry did today. Only demonstrative solidarity and political pressure can save the lives of prisoners in Iran and also protect all other critical voices.”
The Freiburg city authorities and University of Freiburg have faced intense criticism over the last 12 years for appeasing Iran’s antisemitic regime.
After former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami visited Freiburg in 2008, the Central Council of Jews in Germany slammed the municipal authorities for welcoming him, accusing them of “pure appeasement” politics toward the Iranian regime. Khatami, who has defended a French Holocaust denier, was invited by the University of Freiburg, to deliver a lecture on “Dialogue between the Islamic and Western World.”