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“Renegade Ayatollah” Faces Death in Iran

In case you hadn't yet figured out that opposing religious government and advocating the separation of church and state in Iran is a dangerous business, here's proof. By Ardeshir Arian, PJM special correspondent

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Ardeshir Arian

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June 13, 2007 - 4:55 am

Ayatollah Seyed Hossein Kazemieni Boroujerdi, the renegade cleric who takes controversial positions, received a death sentence last week from a special cleric court of the IRI in Tehran.

The authorities tried Ayatollah Boroujerdi behind closed doors, without the benefit of legal representation and convicted him of more than 30 counts against the Islamic Republic.

In a communiqu√© sent by his followers on Monday, and in accordance with their leader’s request, a call to save Boroujerdi is being sent to Iranian expatriates, international media and human rights organizations.

Some of the counts against Boroujerdi are so trumped-up as to be fascinating. Among them are — using the phrase of ” religious dictatorship” instead of “Islamic Republic”, accusing the Ayatollah Khomeini of “deception”, “lies”, and “reconditioning of traditional Islam,” and de-legitimizing the “rule of the Islamic jurisconsult” (velayat-e faqih), which is title of the so called “supreme leader”, Ali Khamenei.

Reports from Iran indicate that the cleric is suffering from numerous illnesses, many a result of the inhumane treatment and torture he has received while in prison. More than 80 of his followers, who were arrested along with the Ayatollah, are in similar shape and situation as their leader.

In a letter written to grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani of Iraq, Boroujerdi has complained about his current situation and has asked him for help and assistance.

BoroujerdiSistanismall.jpgLetter from Ayatollah Boroujerdi to Ayatollah Sistani. Click to enlarge

Before the Islamic Republic of Iran’s goons stormed his residence and arrested him along with hundreds of his followers in October of 2006, Mr. Broujerdi conducted many interviews with the media in the west and preached to his followers and other people his points of view about the current situation in Iran and why change is needed.

He told them that in his opinion, Iranian’s faith in Islam was far stronger during the Shah’s time, and that belief in God had fallen victim to the theocracy of Islamic Republic.

The real Islam, he preaches, is free of political ornaments and it is in the verses of theQuran with true interpretation, which is different than that provided by the Iranian regime.

He has said “We should help people worship their God again and make peace with God. People have turned away from God because of repression, discrimination, and pressure.”

Last summer, a group of Boroujerdi’s followers who were not behind bars staged a sit-in at his residence in Tehran, complaining about their treatment by the authorities. It took the Islamic government more than 70 days to break the protest

Mr. Boroujerdi comes from a clerical background with a history of dissent.

His father, Grand Ayatollah Boroujerdi, defied the clerical government and never accepted the rule of the IRI or Khamenehi’s legitimacy. He died in 2002.

Boroujerdi believes that the government carefully planned his father’s death. If nothing is done to save him, he will be next.

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