Iran executes 2 more men detained during nationwide protests

Iran executes 2 more men detained during nationwide protests

Iran executes 2 more men detained during nationwide protests

Iran said on Saturday it executed two men convicted of allegedly killing a paramilitary volunteer during a demonstration, the latest executions aimed at stopping nationwide protests now challenging the country’s theocracy.

The Iranian judiciary identified those executed as Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Mohammad Hosseini, saying four men had been executed since demonstrations began in September over the death of Mahsa Amini. All faced internationally criticized speedy trials behind closed doors.

Judicial news agency Mizan reported that the men were convicted of killing Ruhollah Ajamian, a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Basij volunteer force, in the town of Karaj outside Tehran on November 3. The Basijs deployed to major cities, attacking and detaining protesters who in many cases resisted.

Women protest the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, detained by morality police, in Tehran, Saturday, October 1, 2022.

Women protest the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, detained by morality police, in Tehran, Saturday, October 1, 2022.
(AP Photos/Middle East Photos File)

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock tweeted that Karami and Hosseini were “more than two names”.

“(They were) hanged by the regime in Iran because they did not want to submit to its brutal and inhumane actions. Two more terrible fates that encourage us to increase EU pressure on Tehran,” she wrote.

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Heavily edited footage aired on state television showed Karami speaking before the Revolutionary Court about the attack, which also showed a re-enactment of the attack, according to prosecutors’ claims. Iran’s Revolutionary Courts handed down two other death sentences already carried out.

The tribunals do not allow those on trial to choose their own lawyers or even to see the evidence against them. Amnesty International said the trials “was nothing like a reasonable trial”.

State television also aired footage of Karami and Hosseini discussing the attack, although the broadcaster has been airing what activists describe as forced confessions for years.

In this undated photo posted on Saturday, January 7, 2023, by the official website of Iran's Supreme Leader's office, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, right, talks with General Ahmad Reza Radan, Iran.  Ayatollah Khamenei appointed Gen. Radan as the new police chief on Saturday, January 7.

In this undated photo posted on Saturday, January 7, 2023, by the official website of Iran’s Supreme Leader’s office, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, right, talks with General Ahmad Reza Radan, Iran. Ayatollah Khamenei appointed Gen. Radan as the new police chief on Saturday, January 7.
(Office of the Supreme Leader of Iran via AP)

The men were convicted of manslaughter as well as “corruption of the Earth,” a term and charge in the Koran that has been imposed on others for decades since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and carries the death penalty.

Activists say at least 16 people have been sentenced to death in closed-door hearings over allegations related to the protests. Death sentences in Iran are usually carried out by hanging.

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At least 517 protesters have been killed and more than 19,200 people have been arrested, according to human rights activists in Iran, a group that closely monitored the riots. Iranian authorities have not released an official number of dead or detained.

The protests began in mid-September when 22-year-old Amini died after being arrested by Iran’s morality police for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code. Women have taken a leading role in the protests, with many publicly shedding the mandatory Islamic headscarf, known as the hijab.

This is a location map for Iran with the capital, Tehran.

This is a location map for Iran with the capital, Tehran.
(AP photo)

The protests are one of the biggest challenges facing the Iranian theocracy since the 1979 revolution. Security forces used live ammunition, birdshot, tear gas and batons to disperse the protesters, according to human rights groups.

Also on Saturday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed a tough new police chief, the official IRNA news agency reported. Gen. Ahmad Reza Radan replaced the outgoing General Hossein Ashtari after the Ashtari’s eight-year term ended.

Radan, the acting police chief from 2008 to 2014, is known for his brutal handling of demonstrators during the 2009 post-election riots. He also imposed measures against women wearing loose Muslim veils and young men with long hair.

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The United States and Europe imposed sanctions on Radan for human rights violations in 2009 and 2010.

Since 2014, he has been managing the police research center.

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