Iran: Protests against the regime continue in Azadi Square
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Majidreza Rahnavard was executed “in public” after a court convicted him of the charge of “enmity against God”. The court found that Mr Rahnavard had stabbed to death two members of the paramilitary Barij Resistance Force. Mr Rahnavard was arrested 23 days ago after participating in protests that have gripped the country since September. He is the second person to be publicly executed for what human rights groups warn are baseless crimes.
Director of Norway-based NGO Iran Human Rights, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, Tweeted: “Rahnavard was sentenced to death based on coerced confessions, after a grossly unfair process and a show trial. This crime must be met with serious consequences for the Islamic Republic.”
“Thousands of detained protesters, and a dozen death sentences already issued. There is a serious risk of mass-execution of protesters.”
Karim Sadjadpour, the Senior Fellow at Washington-based think tank Carnegie Endowment, Tweeted: “Another 23-year-old protestor, Majidreza Rahnavard, was just executed in Mashhad, Iran.
No lawyer, no due process, tortured confession, sham trial. He was hanged for “waging war against God.” This cruelty in the name of religion is what has secularized so many young Iranians.”
According to the Twitter account @1500tasvir_en Mr Rahnavard’s mother visited him in prison shortly before the execution. The account said: “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.” Mr Rahnavard was a semi-pro wrestler who is remembered on social media for his vitality and spirit.
Analysts have also taken to social media to condemn world leaders for inaction on Iran.
Jason Brodsky policy director at the NGO United Against Nuclear Iran tweeted: “Here is what G7 countries should do this week:
1. Downgrade diplomatic relations by recalling ambassadors from #Iran & declaring some Iranian diplomats persona non-grata.
2. Add IRGC to their terror lists.
3. Impose Magnitsky sanctions on Iran’s supreme leader.”
Mr Brodsky is not alone in his assessment, many others have posted that leaders must take this as an opportunity to recognise the brutality of a regime which sentenced Mr Rahnavard to be found guilty after an “unfair trial”. Mr Rahnavard was convicted of “enmity against God” after being found to have attacked a member of the Basij with a machete in the capital, Tehran. The Basij is a loyalist volunteer force often deployed by Iranian authorities to suppress dissent.
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Mr Rahnavard was part of widespread protests against the authoritarian regime which have erupted in the wake of the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was detained by morality police on September 13 “improperly” wearing her hijab.
The protests are being framed by the Iranian government as organised by terrorists when in fact they are led by women, many of whom are students. The protests have spread to 161 cities and are seen as a legitimate challenge to the Islamic Republic.
In a BBC documentary, one anonymous protestor told a BBC reporter that even her “conservative” mother was starting to think carefully about the validity of the Islamic Republic, particularly in relation to the violence it had wielded as a response to the protests.
Express.co.uk reported that ethnic minority groups are being systemically targeted by Iranian security forces, who have shot and killed defenceless citizens.
Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, told Express.co.uk: “It amounts to crimes against humanity because we see the widespread targetting of specific ethnic regions and the planned shooting of defenceless citizens.”
So far, at least 488 protesters have been killed by security forces and 18,259 others have been detained, according to the Human Rights Activists’ News Agency (HRANA). It has also reported the deaths of 62 security personnel.
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