Iran halts execution of 3 convicted over November protests

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 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.


Lebanon approves law to import vaccines as coronavirus hits new record

Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri heads a legislative session, as Lebanon's parliament approved a law that paves the way for the government to ink deals for coronavirus vaccinations, at UNESCO Palace in Beirut, Lebanon January 15, 2021. (Reuters)
Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri heads a legislative session, as Lebanon's parliament approved a law that paves the way for the government to ink deals for coronavirus vaccinations, at UNESCO Palace in Beirut, Lebanon January 15, 2021. (Reuters)
Updated 16 min 29 sec ago

Lebanon approves law to import vaccines as coronavirus hits new record

Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri heads a legislative session, as Lebanon's parliament approved a law that paves the way for the government to ink deals for coronavirus vaccinations, at UNESCO Palace in Beirut, Lebanon January 15, 2021. (Reuters)

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s parliament approved a draft law allowing imports of coronavirus vaccines as the tiny nation hit a new record in case numbers Friday and more hospitals reported they were at full capacity.
The new daily toll of 6,154 cases and 44 deaths came on the second day of a nationwide 11-day curfew that the government and doctors hope will reign in the dramatic surge of the virus.
Lebanon, a country of about 6 million people, has witnessed a sharp increase of cases in recent weeks, after some 80,000 expatriates flew in to celebrate Christmas and New Year.
During the holiday season, restrictions were eased to encourage spending by expatriates amid a suffocating economic and financial crisis, the worst in Lebanon’s modern history.
On Friday, the American University Medical Center, one of Lebanon’s largest and most prestigious hospitals, said in a statement that its health care workers were overwhelmed. The hospital’s ICUs and regular coronavirus units have reached full capacity and so did the emergency room, it said.
“We are unable to find beds for even the most critical patients,” the hospital said, urging people in Lebanon to help by taking extreme precautionary measures to “overcome the catastrophe we are facing.”
Mazen El-Sayed, an associated professor in the department of emergency medicine, described the situation as “tragic,” anticipating that the next two weeks would be even more dire.
In southern Lebanon, the Ragheb Harb Hospital also said that its COVID-19 units were now. “We are working beyond our capacity. The situation is very dangerous,” the hospital said in a statement.
The curfew, which began Thursday, is the strictest measure Lebanon has taken since the start of the pandemic. But many have expressed concern the measures have come too late — many hospitals have already reached maximum capacity for coronavirus patients, some have run out of beds, oxygen tanks and ventilators while others have halted elective surgeries.
Lebanon was able to contain the virus in its early stages but the numbers started climbing after measures were eased in early July and following the massive deadly blast at Beirut’s port in August.
Following bureaucratic delays, the country now is putting hopes on vaccines that are expected to start arriving next month.
Parliament’s approval opens the way for imports of vaccines from around the world, including the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Health Minister Hamad Hassan, who is hospitalized with the coronavirus, had said that once the draft law is approved, the first deliveries of vaccines should start arriving in February.
Lebanon has reserved 2.7 million doses of vaccines from multiple international companies and 2.1 million to be provided by Pfizer, Diab’s office says.
Lebanon has registered nearly 243,000 coronavirus cases and some 1,825 confirmed deaths.