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Zanyar and Loqman's Execution Imminent: Key in the Hands of Friday Prayer Leader

By Kaveh Ghoreishi, Rooz Online

Marivan's Friday prayer leader, Mamusta Mostafa Shirzadi

Marivan's Friday prayer leader, Mamusta Mostafa Shirzadi, who is a main player in the twisted case of Loqman and Zanyar Moradi, is not willing to make any public comments about the case of the two young men who have been sentenced to death. Shirzadi tells Rooz, "I don't think it wise to speak to the media; not now, not ever."

As Zanyar Moradi's father tells Rooz, the death sentences have been upheld by the appellate court and have been forwarded to the relevant authorities for implementation.

Zanyar Moradi and the 25-year-old Loqman Moradi have been charged for allegedly murdering Sa'adi, the Friday prayer leader's son, as well as spying for the British government.

In November 2009, Press TV, the Islamic Republic's official English-language news network, announced that "four terrorists" with connections to the British government had been arrested in Marivan. According to that report, the four accused individuals had allegedly carried out five murders over a two-year period.

Following that news report, a video was broadcast in English by Press TV, showing several individuals, including Zanyar and Loqman Moradi, confessing to the murder of the Friday prayer leader's son.

Loqman and Zanyar Moradi's family members, however, previously told Rooz that the confessions were fabricated and extracted by force from their sons.

snapshot from youtube

Zanyar and Loqman Moradi have since released an open letter from prison announcing that their confessions were extracted under torture and after they were threatened with "sexual rape" by their interrogators.

Under Iranian law, Zanyar and Loqman Moradi can escape death only if their family secures the agreement of the victim's father, in this case the Marivan Friday prayer leader, Mamusta Mostafa Shirzadi. Zanyar's father, Eqbal Moradi, tells Rooz, "Our only hope is that the Friday prayer leader doesn't succumb to pressure from the national security organizations. Mamusta Shirzadi knows better than anyone else how his son was murdered. We think the Friday prayer leader has been caught in a political-national security game here. He knows that Zanyar and Loqman are innocent and I hope he remembers that."

Loqman Moradi's family members confirmed that they have not been able to visit their son, who is held at the Rajaishahr Prison in Karaj, for the past eight months.

Several social media campaigns have been set up to stop the execution of these two young men, but it appears that the key to their lives in this instances is only in the hands of Mamusta Mustafa Shirzadi, who has lost his own son too.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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Copyright (c) 2012 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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