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  Politics
UK voices concern at Iran''s executions, arrests
20/01/2012 | LOC19:56
16:56 GMT
| Gulf News
تصغير الخطالشكل الأساسيتكبير الخط
LONDON, Jan 20 (KUNA) -- Britain Friday voiced concern at a spate of executions and arrests in Iran, including the detention of a number of journalists over the past month.
Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt said the journalists' arrests raised "serious questions about Iran's stated commitment to freedom of expression".
He said he was "disturbed" at the death penalties handed down to website developer Saeed Malekpour, blogger Vahid Asghari and website administrator Ahmad Reza Hashempour.
In a statement issued by the Foreign Office in London, the minister, who is responsible for the Mideast, called for an urgent review of all the cases.
Burt said: "I am deeply concerned by a new wave of executions and arrests in Iran. "There are reports that Iran has already executed around 50 people this year, some of them in grotesque public displays.
This continues a shocking trend of excessive use of the death penalty that has been condemned by the United Nations.
"There has been a wave of arrests and persecution of researchers and journalists. "Journalists Saeed Madani, Parastoo Dokouhaki, Marizeh Rassouli, Mohammad Soleymaninia, Sahameddin Bourghani, Fatemeh Kheradmand, Arash Sadeghi, Ehsan Houshmand and Hassan Fathi have all been detained in the last month.
"This raises further, serious questions about Iran's stated commitment to freedom of expression".
Burt added: "I was also disturbed to see reports of a lack of due process in the harsh sentencing to death of three Iranians, Saeed Malekpour, Ahmadreza Hashempour and Vahid Asghari on charges of 'spreading corruption on earth'.
"Civil society organisations have raised serious concerns over the fairness, transparency and the speed of the court proceedings. Such actions are contrary to Iran's international human rights obligations and raise further questions about the inadequate judicial standards.
"I call on Iran to review all these cases urgently". (end) he.bs KUNA 201956 Jan 12NNNN
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