Action Memorandum

MAY 18,1996

Tabriz executions

The Foundation for Democracy in Iran condemns the public executionof five young men in downtown Tabriz on May 15 by the IslamicRepublic authorities. According to reports from Tabriz, theauthorities hung the men from construction cranes, which wererepositioned to make them visible from all over the city. The menwere aged between 21 and 23 years old.

The public executions were apparently intended as a "warning" toresidents of the city, who had staged demonstrations over the pastweek to protest the regime's handling of the recent Majlis elections.(See the FDI Newswire No.5, dated May 20 for details). In the onlyofficial statement on the executions, the judicial authorities ofEast Azerbaijan province declared that the five men had beencondemned to death on charges of drug smuggling. Given the reportsthe Foundation has received from sources inside Tabriz, and fromopposition groups in Tehran, this allegation on the part of theauthorities appears unfounded.

Eyewitnesses in Tabriz have informed FDI that the authorities alsorounded up 100 persons from their homes over the past week, becauseof their involvement in the street demonstrations. If confirmed, theywould be prisoners of conscience.

The Foundation is concerned with the rapidly deterioratingsecurity situation inside Iran, and calls on the government of theIslamic Republic to respect the guarantees contained in the IRIconstitution as to the right of prisoners to a legal defense and to apublic trial. The Foundation renews its call to the IRI authoritiesto engage in a full, direct, open, and democratic dialogue with theopposition, without preconditions, and to cease the harassment andmurder of political opponents inside Iran and abroad.

The Foundation for Democracy in Iran is a private, non-profitcorporation registered in the State of Maryland. Contact:Kenneth R. Timmerman, Executive Director ( materials, including the FDI Newswire, are availablefree-of-charge via the Internet at