Iran executed 2 more men in retaliation for nationwide protests

Iran executed 2 more men in retaliation for nationwide protests
Iran executed 2 more men in retaliation for nationwide protests
Khushbu Kumari

Defendants Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Mohammad Hosseini were convicted of killing Ruhollah Ajamian, an Iranian Revolutionary Guard volunteer during a protest

Iran announced on Saturday the execution of two men convicted of allegedly killing a paramilitary volunteer during a demonstration.

These latest executions are aimed at stopping protests challenging the country's theocracy.

Iran's judiciary identified those executed as Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Mohammad Hosseini, so four men are known to have been executed since protests began in September over the death of Mahsa Amini. All have faced fast-paced and internationally criticized closed-door trials.

The Mizan judiciary news agency said the men had been convicted of killing Ruhollah Ajamian, a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards volunteer Basij Force, in the city of Karaj outside Tehran on November 3.

The Basij have been deployed in the main cities, attacking and detaining the protesters, who in many cases have fought back.

Heavily edited footage broadcast on state television showed Karami speaking before a Revolutionary Court about the attack, which also showed a re-enactment of the attack, prosecutors say.

Iran's Revolutionary Courts, which handed down the other two death sentences already carried out, do not allow courts to choose their own lawyers or even see the evidence against them.

Amnesty International has said that the trials “did not resemble a meaningful judicial process”.

State television also carried footage of Karami and Hosseini talking about the attack, though the station has for years aired what activists describe as forced confessions.

The men were convicted of the murder, as well as “corruption on Earth,” a Qur'anic term and a charge that has been leveled against others in the decades since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and carries the death penalty.

Activists say at least 16 people have been sentenced to death in closed-door hearings on protest-related charges. Death sentences in Iran are usually carried out by hanging.

At least 517 protesters have been killed and more than 19,200 people have been arrested, according to human rights activists in Iran, a group that has closely followed the unrest.

The Iranian authorities have not provided an official count of those killed or detained.

The protests began in mid-September, when Amini, 22, died after being arrested by Iran's morality police for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic's strict dress code.

Women have played a prominent role in the protests, with many publicly removing the mandatory Islamic headscarf, known as the hijab.

The protests mark one of the biggest challenges to Iran's theocracy since the 1979 revolution. Security forces have used live ammunition, pellets, tear gas and batons to disperse protesters, according to human rights groups.

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