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Iran executes first protester from anti-regime demonstrations

Dec. 8 (UPI) -- The Iranian government said Thursday it executed the first protester in connection with recent anti-regime demonstrations sparked by the death of an Iranian woman in custody of the country's so-called morality police in September.

Authorities hung Mohsen Shekari, 23, after a Revolutionary Court found him guilty of "enmity against God" for blocking a main road in Tehran during a protest and injuring a member of the paramilitary with a machete.

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The court convicted Shekari on Nov. 1 and his appeal of the decision failed on Nov. 20. The court found that Shekari used a weapon "with the intention of killing, causing terror and disturbing the order and security of society."

"Execution of Mohsen Shekari must be met with strong reactions. Otherwise, we will be facing daily executions of protesters," said Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, director of the Norway-based Iran Human Rights. "This execution must have rapid practical consequences internationally."

Some 21 people have been charged with offenses similar to Shekari's that will likely carry the death penalty. Human rights officials said hundreds of others have been killed in violent crackdowns of the demonstrations.

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Amnesty International criticized Shekari's execution, calling his trial and appeal decisions a sham. It expects other executions to follow.

"[Amnesty International] is horrified at today's execution of protester Mohsen Shekari by Iranian authorities less than three weeks after sentencing him in a grossly unfair sham trial," the organization said on Twitter. "His execution exposes the inhumanity of Iran's so-called justice system as dozens of others face the same fate."

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Iranians have participated in widespread protests since the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman, who died in police custody in Tehran on Sept. 16. She had been arrested for not wearing her hijab correctly.

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