Iran carried out its first known execution on Thursday because of the protests that have rocked the regime since September, sparking a worldwide outcry and warnings from groups human rights that more hangings are coming.
Mohsen Shekari, 23, was found guilty and sentenced to death for blocking a road and injuring a paramilitary soldier during the early stages of the protests, following a legal process denounced by human rights groups is a demonstration trial.
Human rights groups warn that at least a dozen others are now at risk of execution after being sentenced to hang in connection with the protests.
Protests have swept Iran for nearly three months since a Kurdish woman in Iran, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, died in custody after being arrested by ethics police in Tehran for alleged violations. The country’s strict regulations on hijab dress for women.
The protests, described by the authorities as “riots”, are posing the biggest challenge to the Islamic republic since it was founded after the king was ousted in 1979.
“Mohsen Shekari, the rioter who blocked Sattar Khan’s road in Tehran on September 25 and injured one of the security guards with a machete, was executed this morning,” the private agency’s Mizan Online website law said.
Amnesty International said it was “appalled” by the execution, after Shekari was convicted in a “completely unfair sham trial”.
The group added: “His execution exposes the inhumanity of Iran’s so-called justice system”, where many others faced a “similar fate”.
Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, director of Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR), called for a strong international response or “we will face mass execution of protesters”.
“Mohsen Shekari was executed after a hasty and unfair trial without a lawyer,” he said.
Iran’s Fars news agency posted a video showing Shekari talking about the attack while in custody, which IHR described as a “forced confession” with a “visible wound” face.
– ‘Boundless contempt’ –
Western governments echo the anger of rights groups.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said Shekari’s execution “represents a grim escalation”.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wrote on Twitter: “The Iranian regime’s contempt for human life is boundless,” and described the legal process as a “devious summary trial”.
But she added: “The threat of execution will not stifle free will.”
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said he was “outraged” and added: “The world cannot turn a blind eye to the heinous violence perpetrated by the Iranian regime against its own people.”
The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said “we regret (the) hanging” of Shekari and the death penalty “is inconsistent with human rights.”
The Revolutionary Court in Tehran learned that Shekari was arrested after stabbing a member of the Basij paramilitary force in the shoulder with a knife. Mizan Online said the wound required 13 stitches.
The Basij is a state-backed volunteer force affiliated with Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The court convicted Shekari of “moharebeh” – or waging “war against God” under Iran’s Islamic Sharia law – on November 1, Mizan said.
It added that he appealed but the high court upheld the ruling on November 20.
According to Amnesty International, Iran executes more people annually than any other country besides China.
The IHR this week said Iran has executed more than 500 people by 2022, a huge jump from last year’s figure.
The 1500tasvir protest supervisor said on social media that Shekari’s execution took place so quickly that his family is still waiting to hear the outcome of the appeal.
It posted a heartbreaking video of what it said was the moment his family heard the news outside their home in Tehran, with a woman in pain and grief, repeatedly shouting the word “Mohsen!”
– ‘Danger is imminent’ –
The largely peaceful protest movement was marked by actions including removing and burning headscarves in the streets, chanting anti-government slogans and confronting security forces.
In a relatively new tactic, protest supporters have staged a three-day nationwide strike through Wednesday, closing shops in several major cities including Tehran, according to reports. human rights group.
Security forces responded with a crackdown that left at least 458 people dead, including 63 children, according to updated death toll figures released by the IHR on Wednesday.
A court on Tuesday sentenced five more people to death by hanging for the murder of a Basij member, bringing the number sentenced to death in connection with the protests.
Freedom of speech group Article 19 said urgent action was needed “because the lives of other death row inmates involved in the uprising are in imminent danger”.
Famous Iranian actor Taraneh Alidoosti, a strong supporter of the protest movement, wrote on Instagram that “every international organization that is witnessing this bloodshed without taking action, is a disgrace. for humanity.”
Before the latest execution, Amnesty said at least 28 people, including three children under the age of 18, could face the death penalty in connection with the nationwide protests.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)
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