HRW calls executions of protesters in Iran a “dangerous escalation”


The NGO Human Rights Watch has indicated this Monday that the execution of two demonstrators by the Iranian authorities in connection with the anti-government protests is “a serious judicial error and a dangerous escalation”.

“The trials of those facing protest-related capital charges have been a complete travesty of justice,” said Tara Sepehri Far, Iran researcher at HRW.

“Depriving those facing capital charges access to a lawyer of their choice is a coordinated move to accelerate the Iranian authorities’ campaign of show trials that aims to sow fear and project power,” Sepehri said.

The organization has denounced that the charges against the protesters are “loosely worded” crimes, which include national security charges such as enmity against God, corruption on earth or armed rebellion. In addition, court proceedings in which lawyers of the defendants’ choice are not permitted to participate “do not appear to meet international standards.”

“Defendants are reportedly tortured into confessing, denied access to lawyers of their choice, and rushed through judicial procedures that circumvent the safeguards of Iran’s own penal code and criminal procedure law.” , added the NGO in its letter.

In addition, the revolutionary courts have issued at least eleven other death sentences and are expected to try dozens more people, including minors, for charges that can carry the death penalty, denounce human rights groups.

Thus, Human Rights Watch has affirmed that it opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and in all countries because it is “intrinsically cruel and irreversible.”

“The Iranian authorities must immediately stop these trials and annul the death sentences,” reads the NGO’s statement.

Iranian media reported Monday that authorities had publicly executed 23-year-old Majid Reza Rahnavard for the alleged murder of two police officers.

The accused has been executed 13 days after the trial began, which is why HRW criticizes that “it is not clear how the appeals process progressed at that rate.”

In addition, on Thursday the media announced the first execution of a protest participant in Iran, 23-year-old Mohsen Shekari, investigated for wounding a police officer and blocking a road.

Authorities have issued at least 1,680 indictments across the country in connection with the protests, according to official statements, while human rights groups estimate that more than 18,000 people have been arrested as part of the social demonstrations.

Iran is one of the countries that uses the death penalty most frequently, figures from Human Rights organizations estimate that more than 300 citizens were executed between March 21 and September 12, HRW collects.

HRW calls executions of protesters in Iran a “dangerous escalation”