March 25, 2023

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Iran hangs two men accused of killing security official during protests

Authorities in Iran have executed two men accused of killing a security officer during an anti-government protest.

Protests have been taking place in Iran since September, with at least 517 protesters killed in demonstrations, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group monitoring the unrest.

Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Mohammad Hosseini were hung on Saturday after being sentenced by the Iranian Supreme Court.

“Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini, principle perpetrators of the crime that led to the unjust martyrdom of Ruhollah Ajamian were hanged this morning,” said the judiciary in a statement released the official IRNA news agency.

Four men are now known to have been executed by the Iranian state since the demonstrations began.

The Iranian state news agency Mizan said the men were convicted of killing Ruhollah Ajamian, a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s volunteer Basij force, in the city of Karaj outside of Tehran on 3 November.

All men executed by the Iranian judiciary faced rapid, closed-door trials which have been internationally criticised.

The Basij volunteers have been deployed in major cities during protests

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The Basij volunteers have been deployed in major cities during protests

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In heavily edited footage aired on state television, one of the men executed, Karami, spoke before the Revolutionary Court about the attack, which also showed a reenactment of the attack, according to prosecutors’ claims.

Amnesty International has said the trials “bore no resemblance to a meaningful judicial proceeding.”

Footage of Karami and Hosseini talking about the attack, and used as evidence for prosecution, has been deemed coerced confessions by activists.

Anti-government protests rage across Iran

Activists say at least 16 people have been sentenced to death in closed-door hearings over charges linked to the protests. Death sentences in Iran are typically carried out by hanging.

Activists in Iran also claim that over 19,200 people have been arrested, though Iranian authorities have not provided an official count of those killed or detained.

Security forces have used live ammunition, tear gas and batons to disperse protesters, according to rights groups.

The protests, which began in mid-September, were sparked by 22-year-old Amini’s death following their arrest by Iran’s morality police for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code.

Women have notably played a leading role in the protests, with many publicly choosing to remove their hijab or cut their hair.

The protests mark one of the biggest challenges to Iran’s government since the 1979 revolution.

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