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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Iran plans imminent execution of seven Arabs

Three UN human rights investigators on Wednesday accused Iran of planning the imminent execution of seven Arabs sentenced to death after a trial held in secret.

In a joint statement released in Geneva, the investigators said family members of the seven Ahvazi Arabs were informed earlier this week that the executions would happen "in the next few days."

The UN-appointed experts said the prisoners were part of a larger group of Arabs arrested in June 2006 in the oil-rich Khuzestan province, which borders Iraq, on charges including intent to destabilize Iran and overthrow its government.

The suspects were accused of having been trained in Iraq by US, British and Israeli officials, said Philip Alston, the UN Human Rights Council's expert on summary executions, and fellow investigators Leandro Despouy and Manfred Nowak.

Iran executed three of the larger group of Arabs last month, they said.

An official at Iran's mission to the UN in Geneva said he could not immediately comment.

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