The Foundation for Democracy has written to the Government ofIran, requesting information on the execution of 4,000 alleged drugtraffickers since 1989. The executions were announced by MohammadJavad Heshmati, acting deputy chairman of Iran's anti-narcoticsheadquarters, during a Tehran press conference on November 10,1995
The Foundation is concerned that the Islamic Republic is usingaccusations of drug smuggling as a cover to arrest and executepolitical opponents of the regime. As a first step toward verifyingclaims by the government that those executed were indeed engaged indrug smuggling, the Foundation has requested a list of the 4,000executed persons, including the dates and place of their execution,and the court that sentenced them.
In a July 9, 1995 interview on Iranian television, law enforcementBrigadier-General Mehdi Ayoub, who was identified as Iran's "topanti-smuggling police official," announced that the authorities hadarrested 13,000 persons on smuggling charges over the preceding threemonths. In a dispatch dated Oct. 4, 1995, the Iranian News Agencysaid the authorities had arrested 30,000 persons in drug-relatedcases during the year ending March 20, 1995.
Similarly, the Foundation is concerned with the arrest ofindividuals in Sistan va-Balouchistan province, in southeastern Iran,on charges of "banditry" and "smuggling."
On June 7, 1995, a group of 97 "bandits" were captured bygovernment forces in southeastern Iran, IRNA reported. The agencyidentified the ringleader, Abdollah Lashari, as a "notorious bandit."But Iranian opposition sources contacted by the Reuters news agency(6/7/95) said Lashari was a long-time member of the Balouchnationalist opposition. This followed earlier arrests in February andMarch of 1995, which led to the May 29, 1995 hanging of 11individuals in the city of Kerman on charges of drug-smuggling andbanditry.
The Foundation has written to the leader of the Islamic Republic,Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamene'i, President Ali AkbarHashemi-Rafsanjani, the Ministries of Justice, Interior, and ForeignAffairs, and has sent an inquiry to Iran's Permanent Mission to theUnited Nations in New York, to request clarification about executionsof Iranian citizens on charges of drug-smuggling, and for informationon the whereabouts of Abdollah Lashari and his followers.
The Foundation is concerned that these arrests and executions arepart of a pattern by the authorities of the Islamic Republic to roundup political opponents to the regime on the pretext of commoncriminal behavior.
The Foundation for Democracy in Iran is a private,non-profit corporation registered in the State of Maryland.Contact: Kenneth R. Timmerman, Executive Director (email@example.com).FDI materials, including the FDI Newswire, are availablefree-of-charge via the Internet at http://www.iran.org/.