German EU presidency slams Iran executions

Germany, which holds the European Union presidency, criticized last week's execution in Iran of four alleged Arab separatists convicted of bombings that killed dozens of civilians. A German statement on Thursday said the EU "deplores the execution" and has raised with authorities in Teheran "its concerns about the conduct of the trial that led to these sentences and the defendants' lack of access to lawyers." It also urged Iran to halt the executions of three other men and give them a "fair and public hearing." The statement noted that the EU opposes the death penalty "in all circumstances." Iranian media have reported that the hangings took place January 24 in a prison at Ahvaz, in southwestern Iran.