Iran executes 3 over anti-government protests

 Authorities in Iran have executed three men sentenced to death in connection with the nationwide anti-government protests last year, the judiciary says.

The three were convicted over their alleged involvement in a shoot­ing attack that killed three security personnel in Isfahan in November.

Amnesty International says they were subjected to unfair trials and allegedly tortured. Four other protesters have been hanged since December. Dozens more have re­portedly been sentenced to death or charged with capital offences.

The protests swept across the Islamic Republic following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who was detained by morality police in Tehran in September for allegedly wearing her hijab “improperly”.

The three who were executed on Friday – Majid Kazemi, 30, Saleh Mirhashemi, 36, and Saeed Yaqoubi, 37 – were arrested after protests in the central city of Isfahan on No­vember 16, during which two Basij paramilitary force members and a police officer were shot dead.

Sources told Amnesty Interna­tional that the men were forcibly disappeared, then tortured and forced to make incriminating state­ments that formed the basis of the criminal cases against them.

Interrogators allegedly suspended Kazemi upside down, showed him a video of them torturing his brother, subjected him to mock executions and threatened to kill his brothers.

In an audio message from inside Dastgerd prison, where the three men were held, Kazemi was heard saying: “I swear to God I am inno­cent. I didn’t have any weapons on me. They (security forces) kept beat­ing me and ordering me to say this weapon is mine. I told them I would say whatever they wanted, just leave my family alone please.”

A Revolutionary Court convicted Kazemi and the other two men of “enmity against God”, a vaguely-de­fined national security charge, and sentenced them to death in January following what activists said was a four-day trial.

According to the US-based Centre for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), they were denied the ability to prepare a proper de­fence, prosecutors relied on forced “confessions” and the indictment was “riddled with irregularities that revealed it was a politically motivat­ed case”. —BBC

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