On Monday, a second protestor was executed in Iran. Iranian authorities announced that they had executed Majidreza Rahnavard, a 23-year-old man, by hanging in the city of Mashhad.
Human rights groups are alarmed by the speed at which Iran’s judiciary has been convicting and executing individuals associated with ongoing mass demonstrations in the country.
Protests against theocratic governance and major unrest has been unraveling across Iran since the death of Masha Amini, who was detained by morality police on September 13th, for allegedly wearing her hijab “improperly.”
Execution of Majidreza Rahnavard
Mizan news agency, which is under Iran’s judiciary, reported that Rahnavard was hanged on Monday morning “in the presence of a group of Mashhadi citizens.” The news agency posted a number of pictures that appear to show the execution taking place at dawn.
In the images, a man can be seen hanging from a cable in front of several onlookers, although it is not clear who these attendees were or how many of them were present at the execution.
Mizan previously alleged that Rahnavard was accused of stabbing two Basij Resistance Force operators to death on a street in Mashad on November 17th. The Basij is a paramilitary unit commonly used by Iran to suppress demonstrations.
Rahnavard was reportedly sentenced to death for the crime of “enmity against God.” He was not allowed to choose his own lawyer, and the one assigned to him gave no defense. Rahnavard’s family was unaware that he had been sentenced to death until after the execution had been carried out.
According to opposition activist collective 1500tasvir, Rahnavard’s family was contacted by an official on the telephone at 07:00. They were told, “We have killed your son and buried his body in Behesht-e Reza cemetery.” They arrived at the cemetery to find security agents burying the body.
They allowed #MajidRezaRahnavard’s mother to visit him, and didn’t speak of execution at all. She left smiling and hoping that her son would be released soon.
This morning she arrived when her son’s murderers were burying his dead body alone.#StopExecutionInIran pic.twitter.com/9n2k02uE60
— 1500tasvir_en (@1500tasvir_en) December 12, 2022
Crackdown in Iran?
Rahnavard is the second protestor who has been executed in Iran. On Thursday, December 8th, another man called Mohsen Shekari was hanged in connection with the demonstrations. The Iranian judiciary similarly found him guilty of “enmity against God.”
Like Rahnavard, Shekari was sentenced to death for allegedly attacking members of the Basij Resistance Force during a protest. His execution was also quick to follow a speedy conviction.
An uncertain number of demonstrators have been detained by Iranian authorities and now await trial. Officials in Tehran have portrayed the protestors as foreign-backed rioters and terrorists.
Most Western media outlets have reported that the protests have been overwhelmingly peaceful. The demonstrations have spread to 161 cities and all thirty-one provinces of Iran. The unrest could pose an existential challenge to Iran’s ruling authorities.
The execution of protestors in Iran has alarmed several human rights groups. According to Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the director of the Norway-based NGO Iran Human Rights, Rahnavard’s sentencing was based on “coerced confessions after a grossly unfair process and a show trial.”
He also warned that in Iran there is now a “serious risk of mass execution of protesters.”
Public execution of a young protester, 23 days after his arrest, is another serious crime committed by the I.R. leaders and a significant escalation of the level of violence against protesters. #MajidrezaRahnavard #IranRevoIution2022 #Mahsa_Amini pic.twitter.com/Ucj5iPZ8Z8
— Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam (@iranhr) December 12, 2022
The Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) has reported that at least 488 protestors have been killed by security forces. Approximately 18,259 people have been detained. At least sixty-two security personnel have also been killed.
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