The Iranian government hanged a 23-year-old prisoner on Thursday, the first execution of a person accused of taking part in the protests that have engulfed the country in the past three months.
The man, Mohsen Shekari, is accused of blocking a street in Tehran and stabbing a member of the Basij militia with a machete 13 times during a protest, according to police. Mizan News Agencysupervised by the country’s judiciary.
Mr. Shekari was arrested on September 25 and sentenced on November 20 by the Iranian Revolutionary Court, a special court for political cases and political prisoners, the agency said. He was charged with “moharebeh,” or waging war against God, a crime that automatically carries the death penalty. Within weeks, he was hanged.
His execution — along with the speed with which it followed the sentencing — was seen as a clear message that the government was increasing its efforts to intimidate protesters calling for an end to the religious rule system. Autocracy has existed since 1979.
Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, director of Iran Human Rights, an activist group based in Oslo, said: “Iranian authorities executed a protester, sentenced him to death in demonstration trials without any evidence. any proceedings. wrote on Twitter. He said the execution was met with a “STRONG response” from the international community, and that “otherwise we would have to face daily executions of the protesters.”
Sanam Vakil, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa program at Chatham House, a London-based think tank, says Iran’s leaders are concluding with a very direct message. “This could signify the pinnacle of its tolerance,” she said. “So far, the system considers itself to have shown restraint, but this enforcement could be the end of that.”
Iran’s police chief, Hossein Ashtari, said on Thursday that “police will show no restraint in dealing with security threats,” according to ISNAIranian student news agency.
According to human rights groups, more than 18,000 people have been arrested during the protests. Of those, 11 were officially sentenced to death. Many were tried by the Revolutionary Court for the crime of “moharebeh”.
Human rights groups say the court is known for holding closed-door trials and hinders the right to a fair trial by not allowing defendants to choose a lawyer or by withholding evidence.
Nasrin Sotoudeh, a human rights lawyer and former prisoner, writes: “Most charged in revolutionary courts lacked legitimacy and were deprived of legal representation. on Facebook on Tuesday.
Diana Elthawy, Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, wrote in a last month’s report that 21 people are at risk of receiving the death penalty because of the protests.
“Two months from the popular uprising and three years after the uprising November 2019 proteststhe pervasive impunity crisis in Iran is enabling the Iranian regime to not only continue to commit mass killings, but also escalate its use of the death penalty as a tool of political repression, ‘ Ms. Elthawy said in the report.
A congressional statement cited by Amnesty, signed by 227 Iranian lawmakers, called on the judiciary to show “zero leniency” to the protesters by urgently imposing the death penalty on the protesters. with them as a “lesson” for others. The head of the judiciary, Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei, has repeatedly call for rapid testing and sentences.
Mr. Shekari’s execution has ominously been followed by nearly three days of nationwide strikes, one of the largest mass protests in Iran in decades.
The strikes also come days after Attorney General Mohammad Javad Montazeri said the country’s fearsome ethics police had “rejected,” according to state media. The government has neither confirmed nor denied such a move.
Iran has been ranked as one of the top execution sites in the world for many years. In July, Amnesty International said Iranian authorities are believed to have killed at least 251 people in the first six months of 2022 – the equivalent of one person per day. Permission groups set the phone number much highersays it has now surpassed 500, “the highest rate in five years.”