Iran halts execution of 3 convicted over November protests

Saeed Tamjidi (L), Mohammad Rajabi (C) and Amirhossein Moradi (R) were convicted of a range of offenses including sabotage, armed robbery and illegally fleeing the country and sentenced to death. (Photo: Iran Human Rights Monitor)
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Updated 19 July 2020

Iran halts execution of 3 convicted over November protests

  • Iran’s judiciary said last week that a court had upheld the death sentence for the three
  • Evidence found on their phones of the three setting alight banks, buses and public buildings

TEHRAN: Iran has halted the execution of three people linked to deadly November protests sparked by a hike in petrol prices, one of the accused’s lawyers told AFP on Sunday.
“We conveyed a request (for a retrial) to the supreme court and they have accepted it. We hope the verdict will be overturned,” Babak Paknia said over the phone.
Iran’s judiciary said last week that a court had upheld the death sentence for the three.
It said evidence had been found on their phones of the three setting alight banks, buses and public buildings in November.
The three are Amirhossein Moradi, 26 and working at a cellphone retailer, Said Tamjidi, a 28-year-old student, and Mohammad Rajabi, also 26.
“We are very hopeful that the verdicts will be overturned... considering that one of the judges at the supreme court had opposed the verdicts before,” the four lawyers representing the accused said in a statement published by state news agency IRNA.
Numerous calls had spread online since the verdict was announced using the hashtag “DontExecute” for a halt to executions in the country.
Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said at the time that the verdict could still change over “extraordinary proceedings,” pointing to a legal clause that could trigger a retrial if deemed necessary by the chief justice.
The demonstrations erupted on November 15 after authorities more than doubled fuel prices overnight, exacerbating economic hardship in the sanctions-hit country.
They rocked a handful of cities before spreading to at least 100 urban centers across the Islamic republic.
Petrol pumps were torched, police stations attacked and shops looted, before security forces stepped in amid a near-total Internet blackout.
A senior Iranian lawmaker said in June that 230 were killed and thousands injured during the protests.
Authorities had for months refused to provide casualty figures, rejecting tolls given by foreign media and human rights groups as “lies.”
London-based rights group Amnesty International has put the number of deaths at 304, and a group of independent UN rights experts said in December that 400 including at least 12 children could have been killed, based on unconfirmed reports.
The United States has claimed that more than 1,000 were killed in the violence.


Saad Hariri named new Lebanon PM, promises reform cabinet

Updated 4 min 3 sec ago

Saad Hariri named new Lebanon PM, promises reform cabinet

  • Hariri immediately promised a government of technocrats committed to a French-backed reform plan
  • He has previously led three governments in Lebanon

BEIRUT: Three-time Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri was named to the post for a fourth time Thursday and immediately promised a government of technocrats committed to a French-backed reform plan.
Hariri said he would “form a cabinet of non politically aligned experts with the mission of economic, financial and administrative reforms contained in the French initiative roadmap.”
“I will work on forming a government quickly because time is running out and this is the only and last chance facing our country,” he added.
President Michel Aoun named Hariri to form a new cabinet to lift the country out of crisis after most parliamentary blocs backed his nomination.
Hariri, who has previously led three governments in Lebanon, stepped down almost a year ago under pressure from unprecedented protests against the political class.
“The president summoned... Saad Al-Deen Al-Hariri to task him with forming a government,” a spokesman for the presidency said.
Hariri was backed by a majority of 65 lawmakers, while 53 abstained.
Lebanon is grappling with its worst economic crisis in decades and still reeling from a devastating port blast that killed more than 200 people and ravaged large parts of Beirut in August.
Aoun warned Wednesday that the new prime minister, the third in a year, would have to spearhead reforms and battle corruption.
A relatively unknown diplomat, Mustapha Adib, had been nominated in late August following the resignation of his predecessor Hassan Diab’s government in the aftermath of the deadly port blast.
Adib had vowed to form a cabinet of experts, in line with conditions set by French President Emmanuel Macron to help rescue the corruption-ridden country from its worst ever economic crisis.
He faced resistance from some of the main parties however and threw in the towel nearly a month later, leaving Lebanon rudderless to face soaring poverty and the aftermath of its worst peacetime disaster.