Iran defies outcry with second execution linked to protests

Iran defies outcry with second execution linked to protests
A person in the Cypriot capital Nicosia checks a phone on Dec. 12, 2022, displaying a tweet about the execution announced by Iranian authorities of Majidreza Rahnavard. (AFP)
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Updated 13 December 2022

Iran defies outcry with second execution linked to protests

Iran defies outcry with second execution linked to protests
  • EU foreign ministers condemn crackdown, impose new sanctions on regime
  • At least 488 people have been killed since the demonstrations began in mid-September

JEDDAH: Iran on Monday executed a second man in connection with protests that have shaken the regime for months, defying an international outcry over its use of capital punishment against those involved in the movement.

EU foreign ministers condemned Iran for its crackdown on anti-government protests and its drone deliveries to Russia while moving ahead with a new package of sanctions meant to raise pressure on Tehran.

The EU “will take any action we can to support young women and peaceful demonstrators,” Josep Borrell, the bloc’s foreign policy chief, said.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said: “With this sanctions package, we are targeting in particular those who are responsible for the executions, the violence against innocent people …these are especially the Revolutionary Guards.”

Monday’s public hanging of Majidreza Rahnavard shows the speed at which Iran now carries out death sentences handed down for those detained in the demonstrations the regime hopes to put down.

Rahnavard, 23, had been sentenced to death by a court in the city of Mashhad for killing two members of the security forces with a knife and wounding four other people, the judiciary’s Mizan Online news agency reported.

He was executed just over three weeks after he was arrested in November, rights groups said.

The hanging also came only four days after Mohsen Shekari, also 23, was executed on Thursday on charges of wounding a member of the security forces in the first case of the death penalty being used against a protester.

“These executions are a blatant attempt to intimidate people, not for committing crimes but just for taking their opinions to the streets, just for wanting to live in freedom,” Germany’s Baerbock said.

Mizan published images of Rahnavard’s execution, showing a man with his hands tied behind his back hanging from a rope attached to a crane.

The director of Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, said Rahnavard “was sentenced to death based on coerced confessions after a grossly unfair process and a show trial.”

He added: “The public execution of a young protester, 23 days after his arrest, is another serious crime committed by the regime’s leaders and a significant escalation of the level of violence against protesters.”

The protests were sparked by the Sept. 16 death in custody of Mahsa Amini, 22, a Kurdish-Iranian arrested by the morality police.