An Arab-Iranian poet and human rights activist, Hashem Shaabani, has been executed for being an "enemy of God" and threatening national security, according to local human rights groups.

Shaabani and a man named Hadi Rashedi were hanged in unidentified prison on January 27, rights groups have said.

Shaabani, who spoke out against the treatment of ethnic Arabs in the province of Khuzestan, had been in prison since February or March 2011 after being arrested for being a Mohareb, or "enemy of God".

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Last July, the Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal found Shaabani and 13 other people guilty of "waging war on God" and spreading "corruption on earth".

The 32-year-old was the founder of Dialogue Institute and was popular for his Arabic and Persian poems. In 2012, he appeared on Iran's state-owned Press TV, where human rights groups say he was forced to confess to "separatist terrorism".

According to BBC Persian, officials from the Ministry of Information informed the condemned men's families that they had been hanged, and they would be subsequently informed on the location of the men's burial site.

Shaabani was moved from the area to an unspecified prison before his death, it was reported.

Iran executed 40 people over two weeks of that month, according to Amnesty International. According to the Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre (IHRDC) more than 300 people have been executed since Hasan Rouhani became president in August.

In the past, Tehran has said the death penalty was essential to maintain law and order, and that it was applied only after exhaustive judicial proceedings. Most of the executions in January were for drug related offences, according to Amnesty.

Source: Al Jazeera