They were accused of waging a “war against God”. Three men sentenced to death in Iran for their involvement in the deaths of law enforcement officials during protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini in 2022 were executed on Friday, the judicial authority announced. Majid Kazemi, Saleh Mirhashemi and Saeed Yaghoubi were found guilty of “moharebeh” (war against God), therefore, and of having been in possession of a weapon during a demonstration in Isfahan, indicated the site of the information agency of the judicial authority Mizan Online.
Arrested in November, the three men were sentenced to death in January. They were also convicted of being members of “illegal groups with intent to undermine the security of the country and of collusion leading to crimes against internal security”, Mizan added. “According to the evidence and the statements of the defendants, the shooting (of firearms) by these three people led to the martyrdom of three members of the security forces,” added Mizan Online.
An “incredibly high number” of executions
Iran has been shaken by a protest movement since the death on September 16, 2022 of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, three days after her arrest by the morality police. The latter accused her of having violated the strict dress code imposing on women, in particular the wearing of the veil in the Islamic Republic.
Iran executes more convicts than any other country except China, according to several human rights NGOs, including Amnesty International. On May 9, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, also denounced “the incredibly high number” of executions this year in Iran, more than ten per week on average.
“The government’s killing machine”
In 2022, 582 people suffered the death penalty, up 75% from the previous year, Iran Human Rights and another organization, Together against the death penalty (ECPM), based in Paris, reported in April. But the pace of executions has been even more intense in 2023: the NGO Iran Human Rights, based in Norway, has counted at least 218 executions since the beginning of the year.
Since January 1, at least 209 people have been executed, mostly for drug-related offences, according to the UN, which stresses that the number could be higher. “The government’s killing machine is accelerating,” said Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, director of the IHR, on May 10: “Its objective is to intimidate the people, and its victims are the weakest people in society. “.