Photo: Vuk Valcic/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Nationwide protests sparked by the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa (Zhina) Amini in September 2022 are being brutally crushed by the Iranian authorities.
On December 8, 2022 Iranian authorities executed a young protester, Mohsen Shekari, after he was convicted and sentenced to death for participating in the ongoing popular uprising across the country. Four days later, another young protester, Majidreza Rahnavard, was also sent to the gallows. The pattern continued in the new year with the execution of Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Seyed Mohammad Hosseini on January 7.
Since the end of April 2023, Iran has executed scores of prisoners. Majid Kazemi, Saleh Mirhashemi and Saeed Yaghoubi were executed on May 19. All three men were arrested in November 2022 following their participation in protests in Esfahan city. Following an unfair trial in December 2022 and January 2023 they were sentenced to death. The sentence was upheld in May 10 despite torture-tainted ‘confessions’, serious procedural flaws and a lack of evidence. A week later, the families were called for a visit with the men, during which prison authorities told them that this was their final visitation. Although the Iranian authorities issued a statement denying this, the men were executed two days later.
The Iranian authorities are resorting to the death penalty as a weapon of political repression to instil fear among the public and end the popular uprising. Trials are fast-tracked through Iran’s judicial system without any chance of a meaningful trial and appeal process.
Thousands have been arrested and indicted, raising fears that many more people could face the death penalty in connection with the ongoing protests. In some cases, state media aired the defendants' forced “confessions” raising concerns about the use of torture and other cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the individual, or the method used by the state to carry out the execution. The death penalty is a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.