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Iran Human Rights Warns of Imminent Risk of Protester Executions/at Least 3 Children Facing Death Penalty Charge

30 Oct
Iran Human Rights Warns of Imminent Risk of Protester Executions/at Least 3 Children Facing Death Penalty Charge

Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); November 30, 2022: Islamic Republic authorities have reported death sentences being issued against protesters, some of which have even been upheld by the Supreme Court. At least three children are also facing death penalty charges. Recalling the Islamic Republic’s history of using the death penalty as a tool of repression and intimidation, Iran Human Rights warns of the serious risk of their imminent executions and calls on countries with diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic to do what they can to stop the execution of protesters. 

Iran Human Rights Director, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said: “Protesters are being sentenced to death in show trials without access to their lawyers and due process. These sentences have no legal validity. The people of Iran and the international community must send a strong message that the execution of protesters will not be tolerated.”

The Judiciary’s Mizan news agency today reported that three 17-year-olds were tried for charges of efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth) in Karaj which carries the death penalty. Human rights defenders had warned of ten children being tried by the Karaj Revolutionary Court for death penalty charges. It is not clear which of the 15 names announced today were the children.

Sentencing under-18s to death is in clear violation of international law including Article 6 of the ICCPR which the Islamic Republic has ratified. 

 

Hasty Trials and Executions

At a meeting on November 28, the Islamic Republic’s Head of Judiciary Mohsen Ejei stated that protester cases were being processed in the shortest time possible and that in cases of killed security forces, sentences had already been issued, with some upheld by the Supreme Court. Ejei is himself one of the biggest human rights violators and on the EU’s sanctions list.

In 2020, protesters Mostafa Salehi and Navid Afkari were sentenced to death for trumped-up murder charges by the Criminal Court and moharebeh (enmity against god) by the Revolutionary Court and were both ultimately executed for the murder charges. Mostafa Salehi who was arrested in relation to the December 2016/January 2017 protests was executed in Isfahan Central Prison on 5 August 2020. Navid Afkari who was arrested in relation to the August 2018 protests was executed in Shiraz Central Prison on 12 September 2020. Both were denied their due process and fair trial rights as protesters are today.

While it is not clear what the charges against the protesters the Head of Judiciary pointed to on Monday are,  the names and charges against 26 protesters have so far been officially announced. There are unconfirmed reports of many more protesters being indicted or tried for death penalty charges.

 

  1. Manouchehr Mehman Navaz: Tried for “arson of buildings with the intention of opposing the Islamic government with moharebeh (enmity against god) punishment” for throwing Molotov cocktails at a Karaj government building, “assembly and collusion against national security” and “disrupting public order and security by creating controversy and commotion” and “participating in illegal gatherings” by Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court using elme-qazi (knowledge of the judge), presided over by Judge Amouzad.
  2. Mohammad Ghobadlu: Tried for “efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth) through large-scale action against police by crashing into a car that caused the death of Sergeant Farid Karampour Hasanvand and the injury of 5 police officers by Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Salavati. 
  3. Saman Seyedi (Yassin): Tried for “moharebeh (enmity against god) through pulling handgun and firing 3 bullets in the air” and “assembly and collusion against national security” by Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Salavati.
  4. Saeed Shirazi: Tried for “efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth) through widespread incitement and encouragement of people to commit crimes against national security and order” for sharing Molotov cocktail making tutorials on Instagram by Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Salavati.
  5. Mohsen Rezazadeh-Gharagholu: Tried for “moharebeh (enmity against god) through participation in setting fire to public equipment in order to disturb public order and security”, “assembly and collusion against national security”, “making explosive items such as Molotov cocktails for anti-security purposes” and “throwing stones at law enforcement officers” by Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Salavati.
  6. Mohammad Boroughani: Tried for “moharebeh (enmity against god) through drawing a machete and attacking the Pakdasht city hall with a mob”, “arson of city hall” and “attacking and injuring a government official on duty, causing injury” by Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Salavati.
  7. Abolfazl Mehri Hossein Hajilu: Tried for “opposing the Islamic government by setting fire to equipment in public use in order to disrupt national order and security, with moharebeh punishment” for setting fire to 25 bins by Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Salavati.
  8. Mahan Sadarat-Madani: Tried for “moharebeh (enmity against god) through drawing a cold weapon (knife) in way that caused an environment of insecurity and fear”, “assembly and collusion against national security, setting fire to the private plaintiff’s motorbike, destroying his phone and causing intentional injury with a knife” at Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Iman Afshari.
  9. Sahand Nour Mohammadzadeh: Tried for “moharebeh (enmity against god) through destruction and arson of public property to disrupt national order and security and opposing the Islamic government, assembly and collusion against national security and disturbing public order and peace by participating in illegal gatherings” by Branch 29 of the Revolutionary Court.
  10. Majid Rahnavard: Tried for “moharebeh (enmity against god) through killing two Basijis with a cold weapon (knife)” at the Mashhad Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Mansouri.
  11. Toomaj Salehi: Famous rapper indicted for “efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth) through publishing widespread lies, causing major damage, forming and running an illegal group in order to disrupt national security, collaborating with a hostile state and inciting and encouraging others to commit violent acts.” Trial is to be held at the Isfahan Revolutionary Court, which will be partially public per official reports.

The following 15 people are co-defendants in the same case of an IRGC officer being killed while on duty at the scene of a protest on the Karaj-Qazvin motorway on November 3.

  1. Mohammad Mehdi Karami: Tried for “efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth) by committing crimes against national security, attacking basiji forces, assembly and collusion against national security and publishing calls against the government online” by Branch One of the Alborz province Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Asef Alhosseini.
  2. Seyed Mohammad Hosseini: Tried for “efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth) by committing crimes against national security, attacking police and basiji forces, assembly and collusion against national security” by Branch One of the Alborz province Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Asef Alhosseini.
  3. Arin Farzamnia: Tried for “efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth) by committing crimes against national security and attacking police and basiji forces” by Branch One of the Alborz province Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Asef Alhosseini.
  4. Amin Mehdi Shokrollahi: Tried for “efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth) by committing crimes against national security, attacking police and basiji forces, assembly and collusion against national security” by Branch One of the Alborz province Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Asef Alhosseini.
  5. Reza Aria: Tried for “efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth) by committing crimes against national security, attacking police and basiji forces, assembly and collusion against national security” by Branch One of the Alborz province Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Asef Alhosseini.
  6. Mehdi Mohammadi: Tried for “efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth) by committing crimes against national security, attacking police and basiji forces, assembly and collusion against national security” by Branch One of the Alborz province Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Asef Alhosseini.
  7. Shayan Charani: Tried for “efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth) by committing crimes against national security and assembly and collusion against national security” by Branch One of the Alborz province Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Asef Alhosseini.
  8. Mohammad Amin Akhlaghi: Tried for “efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth) by committing crimes against national security and assembly and collusion against national security” by Branch One of the Alborz province Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Asef Alhosseini.
  9. Hamid Ghareh-Hassanlu: Tried for “efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth) by committing crimes against national security, attacking police and basiji forces, assembly and collusion against national security” by Branch One of the Alborz province Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Asef Alhosseini.
  10. Farzaneh Ghareh-Hassanlu: Tried for “efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth) by committing crimes against national security and assembly and collusion against national security” by Branch One of the Alborz province Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Asef Alhosseini.
  11. Amir Mehdi Jaffari: Tried for “efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth) by committing crimes against national security, attacking police and basiji forces, assembly and collusion against national security” by Branch One of the Alborz province Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Asef Alhosseini.
  12. Reza Shaker Zevardehi: Tried for “efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth) by committing crimes against national security and assembly and collusion against national security” by Branch One of the Alborz province Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Asef Alhosseini.
  13.  Javad Zargaran: Tried for “efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth) by committing crimes against national security, attacking police and basiji forces, assembly and collusion against national security” by Branch One of the Alborz province Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Asef Alhosseini.
  14. Behzad Ali Kenari: Tried for “efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth) by committing crimes against national security, attacking police and basiji forces, assembly and collusion against national security” by Branch One of the Alborz province Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Asef Alhosseini.
  15. Ali Moazemi-Goudarzi: Tried for “efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth) by committing crimes against national security, attacking police and basiji forces, assembly and collusion against national security” by Branch One of the Alborz province Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Asef Alhosseini.

 

Emphasising that increasing the political cost of the executions can save protesters from death, Iran Human Rights calls on the international community to strongly warn the Islamic Republic of the consequences of carrying out such heinous crimes.

The security-related charges of moharebeh, efsad-fil-arz and baghy (armed rebellion) which are under the jurisdiction of the Revolutionary Court carry the death penalty.

Article 279 of the Islamic Penal Code (IPC), moharebeh is defined as “drawing a weapon on the life, property or chastity of people or to cause terror as it creates the atmosphere of insecurity.” Article 282 sets out the punishments of “death penalty, crucifixion, amputation of right hand and left leg and banishment” which the judge has the discretion to choose per Article 283.

Article 286 defines efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth) as the crime committed by a person “on an extensive level against the physical integrity of others, the domestic or external security, spreads lies, disrupts the national economic system, undertakes arson and destruction, disseminates poisonous, microbiological and dangerous substances, establishes corruption and prostitution centres or assists in establishing them.” 

However, this article does not provide concrete definitions for the term “crime” and the scope of “extensive” for its purpose, giving judges more power to interpret the law at their own discretion. Efsad-fil-arz has been used by Revolutionary Court judges for its vague definition, particularly in cases where a death sentence would otherwise be difficult to justify based on other charges and irrefutable evidence.