Iran has executed a second man for alleged crimes amid nationwide protests


Dubai, United Arab EmiratesIran said Monday it executed a second prisoner who had been detained and sentenced nationwide protests against the country’s theocracywhich showed footage broadcast on state television of him allegedly stabbing two men and running away.

The public execution of Majidreza Rahnavard, less than a month after he allegedly carried out the deadly stabbings of two security officers, shows the speed with which Iran is now carrying out death sentences imposed on those arrested at the demonstrations that want to crush the government.

Activists warn that at least a dozen people have already been sentenced to death in closed hearings. At least 488 people have been killed since the demonstrations began in mid-September, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that monitors the protests. Another 18,200 people were arrested by the authorities.

Iran protest
A frame from video taken by a person not employed by The Associated Press and obtained by AP outside Iran shows people blocking an intersection during a protest in Tehran on October 26, 2022, to mark 40 days since death custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.

AP photo

Iran’s Mizan news agency, which reports to the country’s judiciary, claimed that Rahnavard stabbed two members of the security forces and injured four others in Mashhad on November 17.

Footage aired on state television showed a man chasing another around a street corner, then standing over him and stabbing him after falling into a parked motorcycle. Another showed the same man stabbing another immediately afterwards. The attacker, whom state television claimed Rahnavard, then fled.

The Mizan report identified the dead as “students” Basij, paramilitary volunteers under the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. The Basij are stationed in major cities and have attacked and arrested protesters, who in many cases have resisted.

A heavily edited state television report that aired after Rahnavard’s execution showed footage of him in the courtroom. In the video, he says he hates the Basijis after seeing video clips on social media of the armed forces beating and killing protesters.

The Mizan report offered no motive for Rahnavard’s alleged attack. According to the report, Rahnavard was trying to flee to a foreign country when he was arrested.

Mashhad, a Shia holy city, is located about 460 miles east of the Iranian capital, Tehran. Activists say there have been strikes, closed shops and demonstrations amid unrest that began September 16 after the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman arrested by Iran’s Morality Police for allegedly violating the country’s strict hijab dress code for women.

The nationwide protests have turned into one of the most serious challenges to Iran’s theocracy since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Mizan said Rahnavard was sentenced in Mashhad Revolutionary Court. The tribunals have been internationally criticized for not allowing the accused to choose their own lawyers or even see the evidence against them.

Rahnavard was convicted of “moharebeh,” a Farsi word meaning “waging war against God.” This charge has been leveled against others in the decades since the revolution and carries the death penalty.

Iran is one of the world’s top executioners and usually executes prisoners by hanging. It executed the first prisoner detained during demonstrations last Thursday.

Afterwards, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, director of the Oslo-based activist group Iran Human Rights, wrote that the “execution of #MohsenShekari must provoke STRONG reactions or we will face daily executions of protesters. This execution must have rapid practical consequences internationally.”

Amnesty International said it received a document signed by a senior Iranian police commander asking that the execution of a prisoner be completed “in the shortest possible time” and that his death sentence be carried out publicly, as “a heartwarming gesture to Iran.” . the security forces.'”

Amnesty says: “The Iranian authorities are using the death penalty as a tool of political repression to instill fear in the public and to end the popular uprising.”

Amid the unrest, Iran is also being gripped by an economic crisis that has caused the local currency, the rial, to fall to new lows against the US dollar.

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