Iran Election Guide

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Iran Snapshot: The Delayed Execution of Habibollah Latifi

2130 GMT: The statement of Habibollah Latifi's sister Elahe on the delay of his execution:

Habib asked that we sincerely thank all the citizens who worked so hard on his behalf. He asked that I kiss your hands and your eyes. I want to thank every single one of my beloved country men and women who stayed up with us these past few nights, who supported us and never left our side. It was because you stayed up with us, because you felt our pain, because you contacted us and did everything in your power to help us, it was because of your pressure that Habib was not executed this morning.

All our efforts are to ensure that not only Habib’s death sentenced is overturned but that more importantly the death penalty in general is abolished in Iran. These efforts are not only for Habib but for all Iranian people. We call on the Iranian people to protest and not remain silent so that together we can ensure that the death penalty is abolished in Iran. There are so many other individuals on death row. Our goal is to ensure that their sentences are also overturned.

[Habib] was in great spirits. Today they allowed us to have a face to face visit at 9:00 a.m. Habib was well and asked us to thank all the citizens both in Iran and abroad who worked so hard to make sure that his death sentence did not take place this morning.

0745 GMT: Nikahang Kowsar's treatment of the situation, with Santa --- head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani --- delivering the present of a death sentence:

0645 GMT: The latest on the situation of Kurdish prisoner Habibollah Latifi, whose scheduled execution for this morning has galvanised activists across the Intenet.

Last night, as the scheduled hanging approached, there were reports of rooftop chants across Kurdistan and a protest outside Sanandaj Prison, where Latifi is being held. Still, there was no news of any change in Latifi's situation: his lawyers were at the Iranian judiciary asking for clemency and a delay in the execution, personally bringing a letter for judiciary head Sadegh Larijani.

This morning, however, the Iranian authorities have apparently granted at least a 24-hour stay of execution. It is reported that Latifi's family have been able to visit him this morning. Latifi's sister Elahe, who has been spreading information through interviews with media outside Iran, has thanked everyone for "hard work" to offer a glimmer of hope.

Elahe Latifi said early this morning:

Security forces have threatened the demonstrators [and told them] to disperse, but [this]was not accepted by the people until they were told about the suspension of the sentence by a Sanandaj prison official. His promise was accompanied by an oath which he swore to imam Hussain. His family were told they can meet with Habibollah around 8 a.m.

Despite restrictions on information out of Kurdistan, news spread across the Internet this week of Latifi's situation. International news such as The Guardian of London began to pick up on the story yesterday. CNN finally posted an article just over four hours ago.

Latifi, a student at Ilam University, was arrested on 23 October 2007. He was sentenced to death in a brief hearing, without the presence of his family or suitable legal representation, in July 2008 on charges of mohareb (war against God) and membership in the Kurdish insurgent group PJAK.

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