Iran sentences protestor to death

The death sentence is the first such ruling since the outbreak of nationwide demonstrations over the death of Mahsa Amini.

By Erin Viner

In its ruling, a Revolutionary Court in Tehran found the defendant, who was not named, guilty of being “an enemy of God and corruption on earth” for “setting fire to a government building, disturbing public order, assembly and conspiracy to commit a crime against national security,” reported the judicial Mizan Online website.

Five other protestors were ordered to serve between five and ten years behind bars following their conviction on charges of “gathering and conspiring to commit crimes against national security and disturbing public order.”

Unrest has reportedly spread to 140 cities and towns across the Islamic Republic after the 22-year-old Amini died in custody on 16 September, following her arrest by the so-called “morality police” for attire deemed insufficiently Islamic.

Iranians from all backgrounds have taken to the streets to express fury over her death and the suppression of human rights by clerical rulers in the country; manifesting one of the toughest challenges to the Ayatollah Regime since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, with some protesters calling for the deaths of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi.

The public outrage persists despite an ongoing violent crackdown by authorities and ultimatums issued by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which has crushed dissent in the past with the support of its volunteer Basij militia.

The Iranian judiciary says that so far over 2,000 people had already been indicted for participation in the “riots,” over 50% of which were in the capital. Another 750 suspects in three provinces face similar charges, including “incitement to killing,” “harming security forces,” “propaganda against the regime” and “damaging public property.”

The United States-based Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reports that at least 15,800 protesters have been arrested.

According to the Iran Human Rights organization (IHRNGO), at least 326 protesters – including 43 children and 25 women – have been killed by security forces so far; while some 20 detained activists have been accused of offenses punishable by death. The Norway-based group’s Director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam has appealed to the international community to take immediate steps to caution Tehran against the “consequences” of “hasty executions.”

43 organizations have called on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to hold a special session “as a matter of urgency” due to the “gravity of crimes under international law and other serious human rights violations committed in Iran and the prevailing systemic impunity” to “establish an independent, investigative, reporting and accountability mechanism,” said a statement issued by the IHRNGO.

The Ayatollah regime has repeatedly accused its foreign enemies, including Israel and the US, of having instigated the unrest.

The protests are the largest to sweep the country since demonstrations over fuel prices in 2019, when an estimated 1,500 people were killed in a crackdown on protesters – the bloodiest confrontation in the Islamic Republic’s history.