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Iran: Horrifying execution exposes 'imminent risk' of other protesters facing the death penalty

Mohsen Shekari
Mohsen Shekari © Private

Authorities brutally acting on their public threats to expedite executions

18 people at risk of execution in connection with the protests

‘The Iranian authorities are adamant on continuing their killing spree, both on the streets and through sham trials’ - Diana Eltahawy

In response to the Iranian authorities executing a young protester, Mohsen Shekari, Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

“We are horrified that the Iranian authorities have executed Mohsen Shekari, less than three weeks after they convicted and sentenced him to death in a grossly unfair sham trial.

“The shocking way Shekari’s trial was fast-tracked through Iran’s judicial system without allowing him the chance of a meaningful trial and appeal process is yet another illustration of the fact that the authorities are resorting to the death penalty as a weapon of political repression.

“The Iranian authorities are adamant on continuing their killing spree, both on the streets and through sham trials.

“The clear aim is to instil fear among the public in a desperate attempt to cling to power and end the popular uprising. We fear that other protesters under death sentences or charged with capital offences are at imminent risk of being sent to their deaths.

“It falls on the international community to urgently take action to stop further executions. It must go beyond expressions of outrage and condemnation and take all necessary steps to pursue accountability for all officials involved in crimes under international law and other grave violations of human rights, including the right to life. This should include exercising universal jurisdiction to investigate all those suspected of such crimes and issuing arrest warrants when there is sufficient evidence.”

Fears for others facing the death penalty

The authorities convicted Mohsen Shekari of the vague and overly broad charge of “enmity against God” (moharebeh) in connection with accusations of “blocking a street in Tehran, creating fear and depriving people of freedom and security, and intentionally wounding a security agent with a cold weapon (knife)”, in contravention of international law which requires that the death penalty be used only in the most serious crimes involving intentional killing.

Amnesty fears that many others in Iran could face the death penalty in relation to the popular uprising, given the thousands of people arrested and indicted. Amnesty has identified at least 18 others at risk of execution in connection with the protests and at different stages of the criminal justice process.

Twelve people facing the death penalty: Sahand Nourmohammad-Zadeh, Mahan Sedarat Madani, Manouchehr Mehman Navaz, Mohammad Boroughani, Mohammad Ghobadlou, Saman Seydi, Hamid Ghare Hasanlou, Akbar Ghafarri, Unnamed – Alborz, Unnamed – Alborz, Unnamed – Alborz, Unnamed – Alborz.

People on trial and/or charged with crimes carrying the death penalty: Abolfazl Mehri Hossein Hajilou, Mohsen Rezazadeh Gharegholou, Saeed Shirazi, Ebrahim Rahimi, Majidreza Rahnavard, Toomaj Salehi.

Executions in Iran

Before the uprising began in mid-September, Amnesty warned of a horrifying spike in executions in Iran, with the authorities killing at least 251 people in the first six months of 2022.

Amnesty opposes the death penalty without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used by the state to kill the prisoner. The death penalty is a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

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