Iran hangs second anti-regime protester in less than a week

Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Iran publicly executed Majidreza Rahnavard on Monday, marking the second execution it has carried out in less than a week in connection with anti-regime protests that have engulfed the nation since September.

The judiciary's Mizan news organization reported that Rahnavard was publicly hanged Monday morning in the northeastern Iranian city Mashhad on charges of killing two members of Iran's security forces and injuring four others last month amid the nationwide protests.


His execution comes days after the Islamist regime hanged Mohsen Shekari who was found guilty of "enmity against God" for injuring a member of the paramilitary with a machete while blocking a road as part of demonstrations.

Iran has been subsumed by anti-regime protests since mid-September when 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini was killed in police custody after being arrested for violating the country's draconian hijab laws.


Like the legal process Shekari was subjected to, Rahnavard's charges and trial have been contested by human rights organizations and advocates who accuse Iran of convicting the men in unfair trials during which they were denied the rights to access lawyers of their choosing, presumed innocence, remain silent or a fair and public hearing.

Following Shekari's execution, Amnesty International said 12 protesters, including Rahnavard, have been sentenced to death and another six were on trial or have been charged with crimes that carry the death penalty.

The human rights organization accuses Iran of using the death penalty "as a tool of political repression to instill fear among the public and end the popular uprising."

Human Rights Watch accused Iran of torturing detainees into confession during rushed trial proceedings that bypass safeguards in Iran's penal code and criminal procedure law.

"The trials of those who are facing capital charges related to protests have been a total travesty of justice," Tara Sepehri Far, senior Iran researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, director of the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights organization, said Monday's execution of Rahnavard occurring only 23 days after his arrest is not only a serious crime committed by the regime of Iran's spiritual leader Ali Khamenei but "a significant escalation of the level of violence against protesters."


"Rahnavard was sentenced to death based on coerced confessions, after a grossly unfair process and a show trial," Amiry-Moghaddam tweeted Monday. "This crime must be met with serious consequences for the Islamic Republic.

"Thousands of detained protesters, and a dozen death sentences already issued. There is a serious risk of mass execution of protesters," he warned, while calling on the international community to employ "a strong response as to deter the I.R. leaders from more executions."

U.S. Department of State spokesman Ned Price condemned Rahnavard's legal process, and those other protesters have been subjected to, as "sham trials" and the harsh sentences that follow as attempts to intimidate the Iranian people.

"They are meant to suppress dissent," he told reporters during a press conference Monday in Washington, D.C. "And they simply just underscore how much Iran's leadership actually fears its own people."

"As Iran's leadership continues its violent crackdown on peaceful protesters, they should know that the United States is watching, but more importantly the world is watching, and we'll continue to coordinate with our allies and partners around the world to confront Iran's human rights abuses."

The United States and its allies have repeatedly sanctioned Iran since the protests began. On Monday, the European Union announced 20 Iranian officials, including broadcasters as well as those in the military and government for their roles in repressing protests. The Islamist Republic of Iran Broadcasting was also hit by the punitive measures.


"This is in view of their role in the violent response to the recent demonstrations in Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini," the European Council said in a statement.

According to Iran Human Rights, at least 458 people, including 63 minors, have been killed in Iran protesting the Islamic Republic since September.

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