Sunni Cleric to Khamenei: Concern Over Rumors of Secret Order to Speed Executions
Sheikh ul-Islam Mowlana Abdolhamid, Friday Imam of Zahedan’s Sunni community, has written to Iran’s Supreme Leader expressing his concern over rumors of a confidential order from the head of the judiciary meant to speed up the executions of Sunni prisoners and those sentenced on drug charges.
Citing Abdolhamid’s public website, the Human Rights Activist News Agency reports that the Sunni religious leader has requested that Khamenei address such allegations with “wise and fatherly” action: “Whether or not these rumors are true, they’ve been cause for concern among Sunnis.” Abdolhamid references the “hardships and concerns” of Iran’s Sunni minority in the letter, pointing to a recent spate of executions of Sunni prisoners sentenced for drug offenses as evidence strengthening the likelihood that the the rumors of a secret judiciary directive are valid.
The Iranian judiciary’s lack of transparency makes verification of such rumors difficult. A secret directive regarding capital punishment would not be without precedent, however: in 1988, judicial authorities implemented a confidential fatwa from then-Supreme Leader Khomeini and executed thousands of political prisoners.