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Iran publicly executes second man in connection with protests

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Iran on Monday (December 12th) publicly executed a second man convicted in connection with protests that have rocked the country for nearly three months, despite outcry over its use of the death penalty against those involved in the protests. of dispute.

Majidreza Rahnavard was sentenced to death by a court in the city of Mashhad (northeast) for killing two members of the security forces. He was hanged in public rather than inside the prison, reported Mizan online, the body of the judicial authority.

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This is the second execution linked to the protest after the hanging on Thursday of Mohsen Shekari, a 23-year-old man convicted of attacking and injuring a paramilitary, which had sparked outrage in Western countries.

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But it is the first public execution in the context of protests sparked by the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd who died after she was arrested by vice squad for breaching the city’s strict dress code. Islamic Republic.

Since its beginnings in 1979, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been regularly rocked by bouts of fever. But this crisis is unprecedented in its duration, its dispersion across the provinces, the participation of different ethnic groups and social classes and the direct calls for an end to the regime.

Iranian judiciary says it has so far handed down death sentences against 11 people in connection with the protests, branded as“riots” by the authorities, but activists say a dozen more face charges that carry the death penalty.

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Several other protesters face the death penalty

“No due process. Mock trials. This is how they want to stop the nationwide protests”, says Omid Memarian, Iran analyst at Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN). Rahnavard was arrested on Nov. 19 as he attempted to flee the country, according to Mizan. According to unconfirmed reports, he was 23 years old.

The Iranian eruption has only just begun

Human rights groups had already warned this weekend that several other people arrested during the protests were on the verge of execution.

According to Amnesty International, Mahan Sadrat, 22, sentenced to death after a speedy trial and “unfair” on November 3, was transferred on Saturday to Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj, near Tehran, “raising fears of imminent execution”. He was found guilty of drawing a knife during the protests, which he strongly denied in court.

Amnesty has also warned that the life of another young man, Sahand Nourmohammadzadeh, is in danger after he was sentenced to death on November 6 for “destroyed freeway railings and set fire to trash cans and tires”the group said.

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Among others sentenced to the same sentence, rapper Saman Seyedi, 24, from the Kurdish minority in Iran. On social media, his mother pleaded for his life, claiming in a video: “my son is an artist, not a rioter”.

Protests in Iran: “If you kill two, thirty will replace them”

Another rapper, Toomaj Salehi, who has expressed support for anti-regime protests, is accused of “corruption on earth” and could be sentenced to death, Iranian judicial authorities confirmed last month.

A stronger reaction expected by NGOs

Last week, the United States, members of the European Union and the United Kingdom strongly condemned Shekari’s execution, with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock denouncing a “unbounded disregard for human life”.

But human rights activists and NGOs have called for a stronger reaction, going as far as severing diplomatic relations with Iran and expelling ambassadors to European capitals.

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“Majidreza Rahnavard’s crime was protesting the murder of Mahsa Amini. The regime’s method of dealing with the protests is execution. EU (European Union), recall your ambassadors »called US-based dissident Masih Alinejad.

Iran executes more convicts than any other country except China, according to Amnesty International. More than 500 people were executed there in 2022, according to Oslo-based human rights group Iran Human Rights (IHR).

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