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Anthony Ray Hinton Spent Almost 30 Years on Death Row. Now He Has a Message for White America.

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Anthony Ray Hinton was mowing the lawn at his mother's house in 1985 when Alabama police came to arrest him for 2 murders he did not commit. One took place when he was working the night shift at a Birmingham warehouse. Yet the state won a death sentence, based on 2 bullets it falsely claimed matched a gun found at his mother's home. In his powerful new memoir, "The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row," Hinton describes how racism and a system stacked against the poor were the driving forces behind his conviction. He also writes about the unique and unexpected bonds that can form on death row, and in particular about his relationship with Henry Hays, a former Klansman sentenced to death for a notorious lynching in 1981. Hays died in the electric chair in 1997 - 1 of 54 people executed in Alabama while Hinton was on death row.
After almost 30 years, Hinton was finally exonerated in 2015, thanks to the Equal Justice Initiative, or EJI. On April 27…

Iran: Ja'far Kazemi at imminent risk of execution for alleged participation in anti- government demonstrations and for alleged contact with banned opposition group

An Iranian man, Ja'far Kazemi, is at imminent risk of execution for his alleged participation in anti- government demonstrations and for his alleged contact with banned opposition group the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI). He could be executed at any time.

Ja'far Kazemi, aged 47, was arrested on 18 or 19 September 2009, after mass anti-government protests which took place on 18 September, and was taken to Evin prison in Tehran. He was accused of participating in the protests, which were attended by hundreds of thousands of people, but was not accused of committing any violent acts. He was sentenced to death for "enmity against God", and is also believed to have been convicted of "propaganda against the system". He was tried with at least one other man, Mohammad Ali Haj Aghaei, who is believed to have faced similar charges, but Amnesty International has no information about whether he has been sentenced to death. Ja'far Kazemi is reported to have been interrogated by security forces for months, and was pressured to make a televised "confession", which he refused to do. On 26 April 2010, he learned that his death sentence had been confirmed by an appeal court. His lawyer, who has had limited access to her client, has requested that the Head of the Judiciary's office conducts an extraordinary review. The execution can still go ahead at any time unless this request is accepted.

Ja'far Kazemi was previously imprisoned for membership of the PMOI in the 1980s or 1990s. One of his sons is a PMOI member and lives in Camp Ashraf, which houses PMOI members in Iraq. Others under sentence of death in connection with the post-election protests are Amir Reza Arefi, Mohammad Amin Valian, Motahareh (Simin) Bahrami, her husband Mohsen Daneshpour Moghaddam, their son Ahmad Daneshpour and two friends Hadi Gha'emi and Rayhaneh Haj Ebrahim, a woman, and Abdolreza Ghanbari.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Since the disputed presidential election in June 2009, over 5,000 people have been arrested, including over 1,000 during and following mass demonstrations on the religious festival of Ashoura on 27 December. Those detained include political figures and activists, students, human rights defenders and journalists. At the beginning of March 2010, a widespread wave of arrests of human rights defenders took place.

Many of those arrested since June 2009 have been tried in grossly unfair trials, resulting in long prison term sentences and some sentences of flogging. At least 15 people have been sentenced to death for "enmity against God" in connection with the post-election protests. Two - Mohammad Reza Ali-Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour - were hanged in public in January 2010 after being convicted in unfair trials of "enmity against God" and being members of Anjoman-e Padeshahi-e Iran (API), a banned group which advocates the restoration of an Iranian monarchy. Four others are believed to have had their death sentences commuted.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible: (Please refer to Ja'far Kazemi as "Ja'far Kazemi, son of Bahman" in your appeals, as this will help the authorities to identify him):

- Urging the Iranian authorities not to execute Ja'far Kazemi and asking for clarification of Mohammad Ali Haj Aghaei's legal status and whether he is at risk of execution;
- Urging the authorities to commute all death sentences in Iran, including any imposed in connection with the post-election protests;
- Reminding the Iranian authorities that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a state party, states that the death penalty can only be carried out for "the most serious crimes", which the Human Rights Committee has clarified must be "intentional crimes with lethal or other extremely grave consequences."

APPEALS TO:

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani
Office of the Head of the Judiciary
Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran, 1316814737
ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN
First starred box: your given name; second starred box: your family name; third: your email address
Salutation: Your Excellency

Leader of the Islamic Republic
Ayatollah Sayed 'Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street – End of Shahid Keshvar Doust Street, Tehran
ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN
Email: info_leader@leader.ir
Salutation: Your Excellency

COPIES TO:

Secretary General, High Council for Human Rights
Mohammad Javad Larijani
Howzeh Riassat-e Ghoveh Ghazaiyeh
Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhuri
Tehran 1316814737
ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN
Fax: 011 98 21 3390 4986
Email: bia.judi@yahoo.com (In subject line: FAO Mohammad Javad Larijani

Iran does not presently have an embassy in the United States. Instead, please send copies to:

Iranian Interests Section
2209 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington DC 20007
Phone: 202 965 4990
Fax: 202 965 1073

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY.
Check with the AIUSA Urgent Action office if sending appeals after 11 June 2010.

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