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Executed for Protesting: Iran Hangs Man for “Enmity Against God”

Iran protests
On Thursday morning, a man was executed by a Revolutionary Court in Iran. Credit: Social media / Rex / Shutterstock / via The Guardian

On Thursday morning, a man was hanged and executed in Iran after he was convicted for “moharebeh” (enmity against God) by a Revolutionary Court, according to Iranian state media.

It is believed that Mohsen Shekari, the man who was executed, was linked to the mass demonstrations that have rocked the country since the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody in September of this year.

Shekari’s death may signal an imminent government clampdown on demonstrations.

Execution of Mohsen Shekari

Shekari was reportedly accused by Iranian authorities of being a “rioter” and injuring a member of a paramilitary force.

The events supposedly transpired whilst he was blocking Tehran’s Sattar Khan Street on September 25th. According to accusations, Shekari then attacked a member of the Basij Resistance Force with a machete. The Basij Resistance Force is a paramilitary unity that has been deployed to quell mass demonstrations.

On November 1st, Shekari was found guilty of fighting and wielding a weapon with “the intention of killing causing terror, and disturbing the order and security of society.” He was also convicted for “enmity against God.” For these offenses, the court sentenced him to be executed.

Shekari’s legal appeal was rejected by the court on November 20th. He was hanged on Thursday morning on December 8th.

According to Iran’s judiciary, at least eleven other individuals have been sentenced to death by the Revolutionary Court for activities in connection with the protests. They have mostly been charged with the crimes of “enmity against God” or “corruption on Earth.”

Humanitarian concerns

Human rights organizations have criticized Iran for its execution of Shekari. Amnesty International has said the Iranian courts perform “under the influence of security and intelligence forces to impose harsh sentences following grossly unfair trials marked by summary and predominantly secret processes.”

The organization Iran Human Rights also decried the execution. It said that Shekari was “denied access to his lawyer throughout the interrogation phase [and] legal proceedings.” Furthermore, the organization alleged that Shekari made “forced confessions” after being beaten.

The Fars News Agency, which is managed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, aired a video of the confessions. Iran Human Rights noted that a bruise is visible on the right cheek of Shekari.

Is Iran about to clamp down on protestors?

Earlier this month, Iranian government officials signaled that they might soften their approach to protestors. Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri said that Iran’s morality police, alleged to have killed Amini in September, would be dissolved.

Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi has alleged on multiple occasions that unrest in the country has been fueled by Western-backed terrorists and rioters. This indicates some high-ranking officials in Tehran view the demonstrations as an existential threat.

Meanwhile, a recent report by The Guardian claims that Iranian police, who have opened fire on protestors with bird-shot rounds (a type of shotgun shell), have been deliberately targeting the faces, breasts, and genitalia of female protestors.

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