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Iran carries out 2nd execution, footballer may too be hanged soon

Wednesday, December 14th 2022 - 10:03 UTC
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Activists claim “no due process” and “sham trials” are ending up in hangings Activists claim “no due process” and “sham trials” are ending up in hangings

Footballer Amir Reza Nasr Azadani has been reported to be among those who could be hanged in Iran shortly in the aftermath of the protests ensuing the death of a 22-year-old girl while in custody for not wearing her veil properly.

Iran has announced it would be suppressing its infamous morality police but nevertheless has carried out this week the execution of the second of a protest-related death row inmate after last Thursday's hanging of the 23-year-old Mohsen Shekari, who had been found guilty of violence against law enforcement forces.

This time around, Majidreza Rahnavard was sentenced to death by a court in the city of Mashhad for killing two members of the security forces. He was hanged from a crane in public, it was reported.

“The public execution of a young protester, 23 days after his arrest, is another serious crime committed by the Islamic Republic's rulers and a significant escalation in the level of violence against protesters,” Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, director of the Norway-based NGO Iran Human Rights (IHR), told AFP. “Majidreza Rahnavard was sentenced to death based on a coerced confession, after a manifestly unfair trial and a show trial,” he added.

Since 1979, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been rocked by several waves of protest but this crisis is unprecedented in its duration and scope. Iran's judiciary is said to have handed down 11 death sentences in connection with the protests, described by the authorities as “riots.”

But activists speak of “no due process” and “sham trials,” because “this is how they want to stop protests across the country,” said Omid Memarian, Iran analyst at Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWIN).

Rahnavard, an amateur wrestler, was arrested on November 19 while trying to flee the country, according to Mizan. According to unverified data, he was also 23 years old. According to local media, his family was not informed of the execution until after the fact.

Regarding Amir Reza Nasr Azadani, The International Federation of Professional Footballers' Associations called through its social networks for the “immediate” lifting of the death penalty threat with which the player could be punished after being arrested for defending women's rights.

According to the province of Isfahan's Supreme Court Chief Justice Asadollah Jaffari, Nasr Azadani has been charged with “moharebeh” or “enmity with God” for his alleged involvement in the murder of three security officers on Nov. 16. So far no sentence has been handed down, according to Ja'fari. The defendant “has openly confessed to his criminal actions. There is also a video from local cameras and there is enough documentation that this person is a member of an armed group, and the indictment has been issued based on these documents,” Yafari added.

“Fifpro is shocked by reports that professional footballer Amir Nasr-Azadani faces execution in Iran after campaigning for women's rights and basic freedoms in his country. We stand in solidarity with Amir and call for the immediate removal of his punishment,” the statement read.

Multiple NGOs have warned that several Iranians on death row could face imminent execution, while some 400 people have been sentenced to prison terms of up to 10 years for their involvement in protests following the death of Mahsa Amini nearly three months ago. According to Iran's top security agency, over 200 people had been killed during the riots, but the Norway-based NGO Iran Human Rights (IHR) believes at least 458 people have perished in the crackdown on the demonstrations, while 14,000 have been arrested, per UN data.

According to Amnesty International, Iran is “preparing to execute” Mahan Sadrat, 22, after a quick and “grossly unfair” trial during which he was found guilty of having pulled a knife at the demonstrations, accusations he denied in court. Sentenced to death on Nov. 3, he was reported to have been transferred to Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj, near Tehran, “raising fears of imminent execution.” His sentence upheld by the Supreme Court, it is likely now to be carried out.

Amnesty International also warned that Sahand Nurmohammadzadeh could be executed soon for having “pulled down highway railings and burned garbage and tires.”

The organizations also underscored the case of Hamid Gharehasanlu, a doctor sentenced to death, who was reportedly tortured in detention and whose wife was forced to testify against him.

Categories: Politics, International.

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