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Iran executes 3 men linked to Amini protests

May 19, 2023

The three men were put to death after taking part in rallies over the death of Jina Mahsa Amini, who had been detained by Iran's morality police.

Photos of Majid Kazemi, Saleh Mirhashemi and Saeed Yaghoubi who were put to death by Iran on May 19, 2023
Majid Kazemi, Saleh Mirhashemi and Saeed Yaghoubi were convicted of "moharebeh", or "war against God"Image: UGC

Iran on Friday executed three men convicted of involvement in the deaths of members of the security forces during protests triggered by the death of Jina Mahsa Amini, the judiciary said.

Majid Kazemi, Saleh Mirhashemi and Saeed Yaghoubi were convicted of "moharebeh," or "war against God," for drawing a gun during a demonstration in November in the central city of Isfahan, the judiciary's website Mizan Online said.

Authorities said the men killed two members of the Basij paramilitary force and a law enforcement officer had died during the rally.

The trio were arrested shortly after and sentenced to death in January.

Charged with breaches of national security

The men were also charged with membership of "illegal groups with the intention of disrupting national security and collusion leading to crimes against internal security," Mizan Online said.

It noted "evidence and documents in the case and the clear statements made by the accused" show that "the shootings carried out by these three people led to the martyrdom of three security forces."

Rights groups say the three were subjected to torture, forced into televised confessions and denied due process.

Kamran Matin, a senior lecturer in international relations at the University of Sussex, told DW that the men's trial was typical of Iran's legal system.

"The defendants didn't have their own appointed lawyers. But this is standard procedure, especially with political crimes ... The main evidence is usually confession, which is often taken under suspicious circumstances or torture," he said.

He added that an audio file was smuggled out of the jail from one of the men saying that they had only confessed because of their ill-treatment at the hands of Iranian authorities.

The US State Department on Thursday called on Iran not to carry out the executions.

On Wednesday, the three men appealed to the public for support in a handwritten note saying, "Don't let them kill us."

Protesters clash with security forces durning protest against Islamic Republic regime in Mahabad city, Iran on November, 16, 2022
Demonstrators clashed several times with authorities during protests over Amini's deathImage: SalamPix/abaca/picture alliance

Protests in Iran after the death of Jina Mahsa Amini

Large demonstrations broke out multiple times last fall and earlier this year following the death in custody of Jina Mahsa Amini, an Iranian Kurd who had been arrested by Iran's morality police.

Amini had been accused of violating Iran's strict Islamic dress code when she was detained in September.

Authorities said the 22-year-old died of a heart attack, while eyewitnesses said she had been severely beaten and died as a result of police brutality. 

The protests quickly escalated into calls for the overthrow of the theocracy that has ruled Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Tehran launched a fierce crackdown on the protests, which it labeled as foreign-instigated "riots."

Thousands of Iranians were arrested and hundreds killed including dozens of security forces.

The demonstrations have largely subsided, though there are still sporadic acts of defiance, including the refusal of some women to wear the mandatory Islamic headscarf.

Rights groups say Iran executed nearly 600 people in 2022, up from 333 the previous year.

The surge in the death penalty, including for vague charges of "enmity against God" and "spreading corruption on earth," has been widely criticized.

mm/rt (AFP, Reuters, dpa)