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Mothers banned from appealing against executions

The mothers of five Ahwazi Arab political prisoners facing execution were banned from meeting Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Mosavi Jazayeri, the provincial representative of the supreme leader, on Monday (January 28), according to reports.

The women wanted to lodge a complaint relating to their sons' suffering, but were barred entry to his offices in Khalafieh (Ramshir) and denied the right to meet him. Security forces were deployed to remove them from the area.

On Wednesday (January 30), the mothers met with Shamsullah Bahmani, the MP for Khalafieh, to urge him to follow up the case of the five prisoners with Ali Larijani, the head of the Majlis. They were accompanied by the family of Rahman Asakareh, another political prisoner from Khalafieh who was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.

The mothers are leading a campaign to save their sons amid international outcry over the planned executions. The five men were convicted of "enmity with God" and sentenced to death last July. They were involved in cultural activities and no substantive proof have been given that they have committed any capital crime. Following nine months of torture in a secret prison operated by the intelligence ministry, they were forced to confess to crimes they did not commit. Their trials were heard in secret and they were denied access to a lawyer. This month, the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty and there are very few, if any, avenues left to save the men's lives.