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The Aum Shinrikyo Executions: Why Now?

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With the execution of Aum Shinrikyo leader and six of his followers, Japan looks to leave behind an era of tragedy. 
On July 6, 2018, Japanese authorities executed seven members of the religious movement Aum Shinrikyo (Aum true religion, or supreme truth), which carried out the 1995 Tokyo subway sarin attack and a series of other atrocities. None of the seven of the executed men were directly involved in releasing the gas on that tragic day; four of those who did remain under a death sentence, and their executions may be imminent.
The seven executed were involved in planning and organizing the various crimes committed by Aum. Asahara Shoko (born Matsumoto Chizuo), was the founder and leader of the movement, having developed the doctrinal system instrumental to Aum’s violence and its concept of a final cosmic war of good (Aum) against evil (the corrupt material world and everyone — from the Japanese government to the general public — who lived in it). Asahara is believed to have given …

Iran: Prisoners speak about medieval human rights abuses

Medieval and barbaric punishments: Public flogging in Karaj, Iran, May 2015
Medieval and barbaric punishments: Public flogging in Karaj, Iran, May 2015
"The Iranian regime’s advocates in the West are not only negotiating and dealing with a country that is ranked highest in the world when it comes to carrying out executions, but they are also defending a regime that is currently conducting the most sadistic methods of torture in modern history." - Dr. Majid Rafizadeh

In an article on frontpagemag.com, Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, reveals what the human rights abuses in Iran are really like. He highlights that the countries in the West dealing with Iran are essentially defending a regime that conducts the “most sadistic methods of torture”.

He highlighted the case of Ajab Gol Nour Zehi, a Baluch prisoner, who recently spoke about his experiences. He said that he was beat on his head, face and back so hard that after 18 months the cables he was beat with left clear marks on his skin. He was hung and beat for hours at a time.

Explaining that torture methods were used to obtain a false confessions, he said: “The beatings with rifle butts resulted in fracture of tibia in my legs and created a hole in it to an extent that a finger can be placed inside it. The traces of fractures are still present in my legs…. They brutally stabbed me on the soles of my feet and left side of the abdomen, near the bladder, and severely wounded me such that the signs of the wounds on my body are still present and obvious.”

They tried to force him into taking responsibility for a murder that he knew nothing about. They also stapled his ears. When he still failed to confess after all this torture, they would take his clothes off and mock him. He explained: “They burned sensitive parts of my body in 21 areas with lighters such that a lot of pus still comes out of the wounds. I lost consciousness under the tortures several times and each time they would bring an ambulance to bring me back to consciousness and then the torturers would start to torture me again. When I did not confess, they transferred me from the intelligence office in Iranshahr to the intelligence office in Zahedan – South Western Province, where I was beaten and tortured again on the same wounds by judiciary agents and their head Mollashahi.”

Some victims say that the torturers are IRGC (Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps) members, the head of the intelligence service in Iranshahr and members of the government militia group Basiji, such as Omid Siah Khani and Basiji Kalak.

Flogging of a convict prior to his public execution in Karaj, Iran, in Aug. 2015
Flogging of a convict prior to his public execution in Karaj, Iran, in Aug. 2015
Dr. Rafizadeh said that victims are speaking out about the atrocious torture they endured in order to gain attention from UN officials. The permanent scars all over their bodies are evidence and life-long reminders of the abuse and torture they endured. Women are also frequently raped in prison.

A recent report by Amnesty International recognized that torture was common and “committed with impunity” in Iran. They recognized that courts in Iran imposed punishments that are torturous, cruel, inhumane and degrading, sometimes in public. They highlighted the case of a man who was deliberately blinded by Karaj authorities on 3rd March this year. The court sentenced him to “retribution-in-kind” (qesas) for throwing acid into the face of another man.

Another example they provide is the case of two men who had four fingers amputated in June at the Central Prison in Mashhad, Khorasan Province. Floggings are also commonplace in the country. In June it was announced that nearly 500 people had been tried and convicted in less than 24 hours for breaking fast during Ramadan. Many of them received flogging sentences that were carried out in public.

Dr. Rafizadeh said: “If they truly defend social justice and individual rights, the Iranian regime’s advocates and defenders in the West, human rights organizations, and dominant liberal media outlets need to initiate a full investigation on the use of torture in the Islamic Republic. One method to accomplish this is to use the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran. Otherwise, they are being complicit in these crimes committed by Iranian leaders. With the stories of these victims, and the undeniable evidence that remains on their bodies, no one can claim ignorance.”

Source: NCRI, October 13, 2016

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