Iran carries out first execution over protests

Undated social media photo of Mohsen Shekari
Mohsen Shekari

Iran has announced the first execution of a protester convicted over the recent anti-government unrest. Mohsen Shekari was hanged on Thursday morning after being found guilty by a Revolutionary Court of “moharebeh” (enmity against God), state media said.

He was accused of being a “rioter” who blocked a main road in Tehran in September and wounded a member of a paramilitary force with a machete.

An activist said he was convicted after a “show trial without any due process”.

“The international community must immediately and strongly react to this execution,” Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, director of the Norway-based group Iran Human Rights, said in a statement.

“If Mohsen Shekari’s execution is not met with serious consequences for the government, we will face mass execution of protesters,” he added.

The judiciary’s Mizan news agency reported that a Revolutionary Court was told that Mohsen Shekari had blocked Tehran’s Sattar Khan Street on 25 September and used a machete to attack a member of the Basij Resistance Force, a volunteer paramilitary force often deployed to quell protests.

On 1 November, the court found Shekari guilty of fighting and drawing a weapon “with the intention of killing, causing terror and disturbing the order and security of society” and convicted him of “enmity against God”, Mizan said.

He appealed against the verdict, but it was upheld by the supreme court on 20 November, it added.

Iranian state TV report on the trial of Mohsen Shekari at a Revolutionary Court in Tehran, Iran (21 November 2022)
Iranian state TV broadcast footage from Mohsen Shekari’s trial before a Revolutionary Court last month

Iran Human Rights said Shekari was “denied access to his lawyer throughout the interrogation phase [and] legal proceedings”. It also said the hard-line Fars news agency aired his “forced confessions” hours after his execution. In the video, a bruise on his right cheek is visible.

Opposition activist collective 1500tasvir tweeted: “While his family were still hoping for an appeal and had no news from the case, the Islamic Republic unexpectedly executed him.”

The judiciary has so far announced that at least 11 other people have been sentenced to death by Revolutionary Courts on the charges of “enmity against God” or “corruption on Earth” in connection with the protests. The defendants’ identities have not been disclosed.

Amnesty International has said the courts operate “under the influence of security and intelligence forces to impose harsh sentences following grossly unfair trials marked by summary and predominantly secret processes”.

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