Toronto shoe salesman faces imminent execution in Tehran prison
created 04/15/2012 - 21:08, updated 04/15/2012 - 21:39
Sister of Hamid Ghassemi-Shall appeals for help
GVF — Hamid Ghassemi-Shall, a dual national of Iran and Canada, faces imminent execution on espionage-related charges, sources told the Green Voice of Freedom on Sunday.
A judiciary official reportedly told Ghassemi-Shall’s family that his execution order had already been sent to the Office for the Implementation of Sentences, a worrying sign that the death penalty could be carried out at any moment.
The Toronto shoe salesman was arrested in May 2008 while visiting his family in Iran. He spent eighteen months in solitary confinement and had no legal representation during the first eight months of his imprisonment.
His arrest came days after his brother, Alborz Ghassemi-Shall, was also arrested on espionage charges. The former navel officer died in prison on 19 May 2010. Officials claimed cancer was the cause of death.
In the summer of 2009, Hamid Ghassemi-Shall was convicted of espionage and having links with the Mojahedin-e Khalgh terrorist Organisation, and was sentenced to death by Branch 29 of Revolutionary Courts. The Supreme Court later upheld the sentence and Ghassemi-Shall’s amnesty appeal was rejected.
Speaking to Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad, Hamid Ghassemi-Shall’s sister Parvin dismissed the charges against her brother, saying there was no real evidence against him. Even officials within the judiciary who had studied the case confessed to Ghassem-Shall’s innocence, she argued.
Hamid Ghassemi-Shall’s other sister passed away just days ago.
Parvin Ghassemi-Shall, who visited her brother in prison on Saturday, said the looming threat of execution and the latest loss of a family member had taken a psychological toll on him.
“I’d like to ask all Iranians to help [us] … Don’t let them take Hamid from us too … [Do] whatever you can for Hamid. I swear to God he has done nothing wrong. He’s said in all his letters that he’s not affiliated with any [political] group; he’s not even a political activist. There’s no evidence [against him] either.”
In his second report, Ahmad Shaheed, the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran urged the country’s officials to “seriously consider a moratorium on the death penalty for all crimes until such time as effective enforcement of due process rights may be meaningfully demonstrated.”
Another Canadian-Iranian, software engineer Saeed Malekpour is also facing imminent execution for allegedly running a pornography website, a charge firmly denied by the family.
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