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Terror ringleader handed death penalty based on Iranian laws: Rights chief

Jamshid Sharmahd, the ringleader of the US-based anti-Iran Tondar (Thunder) terrorist group, appears at a court session in the capital, Tehran, on August 23, 2022. (Photo by Mizan Online news agency)

Iran’s top human rights official says the death sentence handed down to the ringleader of a US-based terrorist group was issued in accordance with the country’s judicial laws and after his case went through a fair legal process.

Kazem Gharibabadi, secretary of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights and the Judiciary chief’s deputy for international affairs, on Wednesday defended the verdict against Jamshid Sharmahd after German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called the ruling “absolutely unacceptable” and threatened a “strong reaction.”

Berlin also expelled two Iranian diplomats over the ruling against the 67-year-old terrorist, who also holds German nationality and US residency. 

“Jamshid Sharmahd is a terrorist, but being a terrorist did not prevent him from receiving a fair trial,” Gharibabadi said.

“Sharmahd stood at a completely fair trial with his legal rights reserved. The sentence was issued according to Iran’s judicial laws and it can be appealed.”

The top Iranian rights official also pointed out that the Islamic Republic does not recognize dual citizenship.

“Sharmahd, who lived in the US before his arrest, has repeatedly said that he is under the protection of the FBI and that the Islamic Republic cannot reach him,” he added.

The ringleader of the Tondar (Thunder) terrorist outfit, Sharmahd was convicted of planning to commit 23 terrorist acts, of which he succeeded in five, including the 2008 bombing of a religious congregation center in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz that left 14 people dead and 300 others wounded.

Gharibabadi said, “In just one terrorist act, Sharmahd martyred dozens of innocent people, including women and children, at Shiraz Seyed al-Shohada Hussainiyah. How does Germany allow itself to defend a terrorist and threaten to pursue the sentence against Sharmahd in international forums?”

He also said that Iran will pursue the issue through international bodies, adding, “The German and US governments must be held accountable for turning into a safe haven for terrorists and providing them with security, financial, intelligence and political support.”

Iran, he went on, has more than 17,000 terror victims who were killed by terrorists living in the US and Europe.

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