June 26, 2020

Three Iranians May Face Execution for November Protests

Human rights activists have reported that three young Iranian men are at risk of execution after the Iranian Supreme Court upheld their initial verdict. Amir-Hossein Moradi, Saeed Tamjidi, and Mohammad Rajabi, aged 26, 26, and 28 respectively, were arrested in the aftermath of Iran’s November, 2019, protests and faced charges of committing acts of armed violence and participation in vandalism. Iran Human Rights News Agency (HRANA) reported that the Iranian Supreme Court has upheld the death sentences for the three defendants earlier this week.

According to an Amnesty International report, Amir-Hossein Moradi was identified on CCTV footage and arrested only a few days after he attended protests. Following Moradi’s arrest, the other two defendants fled to Turkey fearing an unfair trial. Despite presenting ample evidence of risk, Turkish security forces denied their asylum request and deported them back to Iran. Though the lawyers in this case have said they intend to appeal the court’s decision, the greater question to be raised is why these young men have been sentenced in the first place.

Protests erupted in Iran in November of 2019, after a sudden spike in fuel prices. However, the scope of the protests reveals deeper grievances among the Iranian populace. The protests were brutally repressed with over 300 confirmed deaths. In addition to those killed, human rights groups have noted arrests, torture, and threats against the families of detainees in order to prevent them from speaking to the media. In this case, one of the three defendants was coerced into giving a televised confession. Iran has been condemned for broadcasting such confessions in the past.

Iranians have again taken to social media to express their rightful anger over the continued unjust treatment of protestors and the reprehensible verdict given to these young men. The Iranian government must secure the right to protest and due process that allows for fair trials for all its citizens. Violence against protestors, televised confessions, and unjust imprisonment must be condemned and will not stop Iranians from demanding their lawful rights.

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