Iran: Crowd gathers in bid to stop executions - Dispatch Weekly

January 10, 2023 - Reading time: 4 minutes

​In Iran, dozens of people showed up outside a prison overnight amid allegations that the government was getting ready to execute two more anti-government demonstrators.

Videos of protesters yelling slogans in front of Karaj’s Rajai Shahr jail were shared online by opposition activists.

At the gathering, the mother of Mohammad Ghobadlou – one of the two men facing execution – made a clemency request.

On Saturday, two demonstrators were hung, drawing criticism from around the world.

The executions of Mohammad Mahdi Karami and Seyed Mohammad Hosseini, which it said came after “unfair trials based on forced confessions,” were condemned by the UN human rights office as “shocking”.

The men were found guilty of “corruption on Earth” by a Revolutionary Court for allegedly taking part in the murder of a Basij force member in Karaj in November. Both claimed they were tortured and refuted the accusation.

They were the third and fourth individuals to be executed as a result of the protests that broke out in September after a woman was found dead in custody while being held by morality police for reportedly wearing her hijab “improperly.”

Authorities have labelled them “riots” and used deadly force in response.

The Human Rights Activists’ News Agency (HRANA) reports that 68 security personnel and at least 519 protestors have died so far as a result of the turmoil .

Another 19,290 protestors have reportedly been detained, and 111 of them are reportedly “under the impending threat of a death sentence” after being found guilty or accused of capital offences, according to the report.

After activists warned that Mohammad Ghobadlou and Mohammad Boroughani had been moved to solitary confinement in anticipation of being executed, people gathered outside Rajai Shahr jail on Sunday night.

Videos of a crowd shouting chants urging authorities not to carry out the killings were published by the opposition activist group 1500 Tasvir.

Ghobadlou’s mother, who has previously claimed that her son has bipolar disorder, was caught on camera informing the audience that a petition signed by 50 doctors had been sent to the judiciary chief requesting the creation of a committee to look into her son’s mental health.

“If he believed in God, he would have responded to these 50 doctors,” she said, asserting that her son is “ill”.

She added that the policeman he is charged with killing was “martyred somewhere else.”

Additionally, 1500 Tasvir published recordings with what appeared to be gunfire coming from the vicinity of the prison.

Later on Monday, the activist group reported that the demonstration had, “at least temporarily,” prevented the killings.

The Supreme Court upheld Ghobadlou’s death sentence on December 24. He was 22 years old. After being accused of ramming his car into a group of police officers at a protest in Tehran in September, killing one of them and injuring others, he was found guilty of “enmity against God.”

Without his preferred attorney, who claimed the prosecution had used additional defective evidence, he was put on trial. In addition, Amnesty International expressed worry that he had endured torture or other cruel treatment while being held, citing a forensic examination that revealed bruises and injuries on his arm, elbow, and shoulder blade.

The 19-year-old Mohammad Boroughani was tried alongside Ghobadlou and found guilty of “enmity against God.”

He was charged with using a machete, torching a provincial government building, and harming a security guard. He was also charged with using social media to “encourage” people to take part in protests.

He was convicted following proceedings that “bore no relation to a real legal trial,” according to Amnesty International.

A court in Isfahan sentenced three persons to death for an attack during demonstrations in the city on November 16 that resulted in the shooting deaths of three security personnel, according to a separate statement on Monday from the judiciary.

Saeed Yaqoubi Kordsofla, Majid Kazemi Sheikh-Shabani, and Saleh Mirbasheri Boltaqi were found guilty of “enmity against God.”

In connection with their suspected involvement in the attack, two other offenders, including professional footballer Amir Nasr-Azadani, received prison sentences. After being found guilty of three crimes, including “assisting in hatred against God,” Nasr-Azadani, 26, was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

DW Staff

David Lintott is the Editor-in-Chief, leading our team of talented freelance journalists. He specializes in covering culture, sport, and society. Originally from the decaying seaside town of Eastbourne, he attributes his insightful world-weariness to his roots in this unique setting.