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Global outrage grows over execution of Iranian protester

December 9, 2022

The execution of an Iranian man on Thursday, the first linked to nationwide protests since September, has drawn sharp Western criticism. The UK also announced sanctions against individuals linked to Iran's judiciary.

Protesters hold up a placard reading 'Stop Execution in Iran' as they take part in a rally in support of the demonstrations in Iran, in front of the Victory Column (Siegessaeule) in Berlin, on October 22, 2022.
Rights group fear the fate of those convincted of capital crimes and sentenced to deathImage: JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images

International condemnation over the first known execution of an Iranian protester grew on Friday.

A German government spokesperson told reporters in Berlin on Friday that the government "strongly condemns the Iranian regime's death sentence and execution of a demonstator in connection with the demonstrations in Iran." 

Execution a main instrument in Iran: Kamran Matin

The spokesperson also confirmed the German government had summoned the Iranian ambassador in Berlin.

UK, Canada announce sanctions

The UK announced sanctions on Friday against several individuals globally, including 10 linked to the Iranian judiciary and prison systems.

The government said sanctions include "six individuals linked to the Revolutionary Courts that have been responsible for prosecuting protesters with egregious sentences including the death penalty."

Two among the 10 are former directors of the notorious Evin prison in Tehran, and they face a travel ban to the UK along with having their assets frozen as part of sanctions.

Canada announced sanctions on 67 individuals and nine entities in several countries, including members of Iranian judiciary for "gross and systematic human rights violations."

The sanctions were imposed on 22 Iranians, including senior aides to Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The sanctions announced by the countries comes as the world marks International Anti-Corruption Day and Human Rights Day on Friday.

Execution sparks fury

Iran has sentenced several protesters to death ever since demonstrations began in September, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Jina Mahsa Amini that month.

Thursday's execution of a 23-year-old man, whom Iranian news agencies identified as being Mohsen Shekari, sparked immediate sharp rebuke by European governments, the United States, and rights groups. 

UN decries execution, Iran says proportional reponse to protests

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Thursday decried the execution of the protester, saying "executions following unfair trials constitute an arbitrary deprivation of life."

UN experts said in the statement that the death penalty could only be imposed and enforced for offenses that met the threshold of the most serious crimes, meaning in cases involving intentional killing and others.

They also said they fear for the "life of Iranian artists who have been indicted on charges carrying the death penalty," echoing sentiments similar to other right groups who raised concerns about whether the execution could be the harbinger of the Iranian response to protests.

But the Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a statement late Thursday that in "countering riots, Iran has show utmost restraint and, unlike many Western regimes… Iran has employed proportionate and standard anti-riot methods."

"The same is true for the judicial process: restraint and proportionality," the Ministry added.

rm/aw (Reuters, AFP, AP)