Molavi Fathi Mohammad Naghshbandi

A group of political and religious activists has issued a statement calling for a halt to the death sentences handed to Rask Imam, Molavi Fathi Mohammad Naghshbandi and 11 other Sunni activists.

The Melli Mazhabi Website reports that in a statement signed by 82 activists and 14 political and human rights organizations, voices of concern have been raised regarding the death sentences handed to Molavi Fathi Mohammad Naghshbandi and the other 11 Sunnis detainees in Rask for their alleged involvement in the assassination of Mostafa Jangi Zehi.

The report indicates that the charges against these prisoners, who have been in jail since March of 2012, “have not been proven in a fair and official court” and it warns against highlighting sectarian divisions in Sistan-Baluchistan Province.

The southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan has a large Sunni community, which has often voiced concern about the lack of state support for its needs.

The Zahedan Imam of Suunis, Molavi Abolhamid, dismissed claims that the Sunni community is subversive. In a meeting with Sunni university students, Molavi Albolhamid said: “We do not ask for too much but we believe that in the 34 years since the Revolution, the Islamic system has had many opportunities to mete out justice and recognize the dignity of the Sunnis. And still some officials are asking for more time… until when?”

Twenty percent of Iranians are Sunnis and live in more than 10 of Iran’s provinces.