Amnesty International has called for Iran to ‘immediately quash the unjust convictions and death sentences of three young protesters who were subjected to gruesome torture’.
The human rights group reported on the cases of protesters Arshia Takdastan (18), Mehdi Mohammadifard (19) and Javad Rouhi (31). The court sentenced the men to death for “enmity against God”, “corruption on earth”, and inciting widespread arson or vandalism by “dancing, clapping, chanting or throwing headscarves into bonfires” during protests in Manzandaran province, north of Tehran. Javad Rouhi was additionally convicted of “apostasy” after he confessed under torture that he had burned a copy of the Quran.
Amnesty reported that the young men were subjected to “weeks of harrowing torture”, including “floggings, electric shocks, being hung upside down and death threats at gunpoint”, that one of them was raped and another had ice placed on his testicles for two days.
The human rights watchdog went on to say that the men were denied access to lawyers until their trial, when they were denied lawyers of their choice, and each man was convicted and sentenced to death in a single hearing of less than an hour. The men’s appeal is before the Supreme Court.
Emphasising the sheer cruelty of Iran’s judicial system, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Diana Eltahawy said that this was highlighted by the “absolute impunity” enjoyed by Revolutionary Guards agents and prosecution officials responsible of complicit in the sexual abuse and other forms of torture of the three young men.
“The Iranian authorities must immediately quash the convictions and death sentences of these young men and drop all charges related to their peaceful participation in protests. They must also order a prompt, transparent and impartial investigation to bring all those reasonably suspected of responsibility for their torture to justice in fair trials,” Eltahawy said.