More Iranians face imminent execution, according to rights groups

A woman joins protestors as they gather outside of an Iranian diplomat's residence to denounce the Iranian government and the recent execution of a protester, in New York December 10, 2022. (Photo:Getty Images via AFP)

Following an international backlash against the clerical regime's first execution linked to ongoing protests, human rights organizations warned yesterday that several Iranian protesters face imminent execution.

The nearly three-month-old protest movement was sparked by the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish-Iranian woman arrested by the morality police for allegedly violating the strict dress code for women in the Islamic republic.

The authorities have described the protests as "riots," and they represent the greatest challenge to the regime since the shah's overthrow in 1979. They have been met with repression, which activists claim is intended to instill public fear.

Iran executed Mohsen Shekari, 23, on Thursday for assaulting a member of the security forces. According to rights groups, he was subjected to a show trial that was conducted with excessive haste.

According to Iran's judiciary, eleven people have been sentenced to death in connection with the protests; however, activists estimate that a dozen more face charges that could result in the death penalty.

Unless foreign governments "significantly increase" the diplomatic and economic costs to Iran, the world "is giving a green light to this carnage," according to Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran in New York City (CHRI).

A month after his "grossly unfair" trial, Amnesty International reported that Iran was "preparing to execute" Mahan Sadrat, 22. He was found guilty of brandishing a knife during the protests, despite his vehement denials in court.

Saturday, Sadrat was transferred from the Greater Tehran Prison to the Rajai Shahr prison in the nearby city of Karaj, sparking "concerns that his execution may be imminent," according to Amnesty International.

'Show trial'

"Like all other death row inmates, he was denied access to his attorney during the interrogations, proceedings, and show trial," said Iran Human Rights, a group headquartered in Oslo.

Amnesty International warned that the life of Sahand Nourmohammadzadeh, another young man arrested in connection with the protests, was also in danger "after a rushed proceeding that bore no resemblance to a trial."

According to the group, he was sentenced to death in November for "tearing down highway railings and setting fire to trash cans and tires."

Among those given the same sentence is 24-year-old Iranian Kurdish rapper Saman Seyedi. In a video posted to social media, his mother pleaded for her son's life by stating, "My son is an artist, not a rioter."

Iranian judicial authorities confirmed last month that Toomaj Salehi, a rapper who expressed support for anti-regime protests, has been charged with "corruption on earth" and could face the death penalty.

Concerning the cases of Sayedi and Salehi, United Nations experts issued the following statement: "We fear for the lives of Iranian artists indicted on charges carrying the death penalty."

Amnesty and IHR have also brought up the case of the condemned physician Hamid Gharehasanlou. They claim that he was tortured in custody and that his wife was forced to testify against him, which she later attempted to retract.

'Boundless contempt'

"Executions of protesters can only be prevented by increasing their political cost for the Islamic republic," said IHR director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, urging a "more robust than ever" international response.

The United States, European Union members, and the United Kingdom strongly condemned Shekari's execution. Annalena Baerbock, the German foreign minister, stated that it demonstrates "unbounded contempt for human life."

Iran summoned the German and British ambassadors on Friday and Saturday to protest their countries' actions, marking the 15th time in less than three months that Tehran has summoned foreign envoys.

Many activists want the international response to Iran to include the severing of diplomatic ties.

After widespread international outrage over the execution of Shekari, Iran stated that it was exercising restraint in both the response by security forces and the "proportionality" of the judicial process.

The use of the death penalty in Iran is part of a crackdown in which, according to IHR, the security forces have killed at least 458 people.

According to the United Nations, at least 14,000 people have been arrested.

Local media reported that two actors and a theatre director who were arrested in November for making a video supporting the protest movement have been released on bail.

The ISNA news agency reported that theater director Hamid Pourazari and actresses Soheila Golestani and Faezeh Aeen were released on Sunday evening.

Publish : 2022-12-12 09:08:00

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