The courts in Iran continue to use the threat of the death penalty to crush the ongoing protests in the country, according to the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
The Human Rights watchdog reported as of 15 December that at least 11 protesters were facing execution under the Islamic Republic, with 24 others facing charges that could lead to the death penalty. By the 28 December, another international organisation, Iran Human Rights had said the number facing execution is likely to far exceed 100.
The courts are “threatening people with death to instil fear in protesters and crush the country’s freedom movement,” Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the CHRI said.
“Young men in their 20s are being hanged after show trials, and more are being sentenced each day,” Ghaemi added.
CHRI research showed that individuals on death row were convicted in “sham trials” in which they were denied due process, including a lawyer of their choice.
In early December, two young men, Majidreza Rahnavard and Mohsen Shekari, were hanged for their participation in the nationwide protests. Rahnavard was executed just 23 days after his arrest.
The CHRI report outlined the situation of other protesters that could face the death penalty.
An arrested 25-year-old protester in Shiraz has been told that he will be executed. The student, Mohammad Ahmadvand Shahvandi, has been charged with “forming a group with the intention to overthrow the state”. Shahvandi reportedly had set up a WhatsApp group to discuss the current issues in the country.
Shahvandi’s brother has also been detained “because he objected to his brother’s arrest” according to the source.
Parham Parvari, a 26-year-old national swimming champion from Saqqez, was arrested by state security agents in early November and is currently being held in Evin Prison. Parvari was tried on 9 November and charged with Moharebeh (enmity against God) before he had access to a lawyer.
An Iranian footballer, Nasr Azadani, also reportedly faces the death penalty for participating in the nationwide protests.
According to information obtained by Iran Human Rights, at least 476 people have been killed by security forces in the nationwide protests so far, but the death toll is an absolute minimum and does not include executions or those who have died in suspicious circumstances shortly after release. The Islamic Republic is intentionally creating confusion in protester cases by sharing contradicting statements, particularly in death penalty cases, the IHR report added.
“The international community must act with the utmost urgency,” the director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran said, and added, “Governments around the world need to communicate to the Iranian authorities that they must immediately end the use of the death penalty as a tool of political repression.”
On 3 January, a senior officer of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Qassem Fethallahi, was shot four times and killed outside his house, according to Iran’s Tasnim news site. No group has claimed responsibility for the shooting. The IRGC has had a prominent role supressing the protests.