He was hanged at dawn, a month after the death sentence was passed. Mohsen Shekari, 23, was arrested for taking part in the anti-government protests that have been rocking Iran for nearly three months. He was found guilty of “enmity against God”, “blocking a road, taking a weapon with intent to kill, and intentionally wounding an officer in the line of duty”. The facts go back to the end of September, when demonstrations by Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman of Kurdish origin who died of a blow to the head while she was in the custody of the morality police, because she was not wearing a headscarf properly, erupted a few days ago. The boy’s family members, who appealed the death sentence, learned that the sentence had been carried out while they waited to hear news of him outside the prison where he was being held. The uncle said that the body had not been handed over to relatives. Shikari’s execution is the first known execution of a protester, although some activists believe more have already taken place and 11 other people have been sentenced to death, including Fahima Karimi, a volleyball coach and mother of three young children. In recent days, the Iranian judiciary confirmed the death penalty for five people, for stabbing to death a member of the Basij paramilitary forces on November 3 in Karaj, during violent clashes between demonstrators and regime forces. “We risk executing protesters every day,” said Mahmoud al-Amiri Moqaddam, director of the Oslo-based human rights NGO, which has advocated for international initiatives. Amnesty International has also launched an appeal to the Iranian authorities to “immediately end planned executions and stop using the death penalty as a tool of political repression against demonstrators”. According to the NGO, the young man was sentenced in a “grossly unfair show trial”, while the Iranian judiciary said that the verdict came after the boy confessed his crimes before the court. A “confession” according to opposition activists and media outlets residing abroad that he was forced, as the video clips in which the young man confesses his guilt, which were broadcast by TV channels linked to the Revolutionary Guards, depict him with a swollen face.
The protests, which have erupted since September, have continued until today, albeit in a few cities, but they have intensified in recent days, and they are still facing a harsh reaction from the security forces. The officers also suppressed the demonstrations by shooting the women at close range and hitting them on the face, eyes, breasts, and genitals. This was reported to the Guardian by Iranian doctors from different cities of the country treating the wounded in secret to avoid arrest: They say they are now traumatized by the corpses of the women they see arriving. While the government is taking a very hard line on the protests, today’s death sentence has drawn sharp criticism from the United States and Europe, including Italy. Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani warned of the “point of no return,” stressing that “we will continue in every forum with our diplomatic pressure to defend the freedoms and human rights that Tehran violates.” Harsh judgments also came from France, Germany and Great Britain. For Washington, it was “an evil escalation of the regime’s attempts to eliminate all criticism and suppress demonstrations,” which “will hold the regime accountable.” Tehran responded with a counterattack. “In the face of riots, Iran has shown maximum restraint, and unlike many Western regimes that violently mutilate and suppress even peaceful protesters, Iran has used proportionate and standardized riot control methods. The same applies to the judicial process: moderation and proportionality,” the State Department said dismissively. The “parental hypocrite” from the West.
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