Iran on Saturday executed two men for killing a paramilitary force member during unprecedented protests sparked by the death of a young woman in custody.
The latest hangings double the number of executions to four over the nationwide protests, which escalated since mid-September into calls for an end to Iran’s clerical regime.
Two men were put to death in December, sparking global outrage and new Western sanctions against Iran.
Judicial news agency Mizan Online reported “Mohammad Mahdi Karami and Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini, the main perpetrators of the crime that led to the martyrdom of Ruhollah Ajamian, were hanged this morning.”
Prosecutors said the 27-year-old militiaman was stripped naked and killed by a group of mourners who had been paying tribute to a slain protester, Hadis Najafi.
The executions come in defiance of a campaign by international rights groups for the lives of the two men to be spared. Karami’s father had also begged the judiciary not to kill his son.
Amnesty International had decried the “fast-tracked unfair group trial” of the two men which it said bore no “resemblance to a meaningful judicial proceeding”.
Authorities have arrested thousands of people in the wave of demonstrations that began with the September death in custody of Mahsa Amini, 22.
The Iranian Kurdish woman had been arrested by morality police for allegedly breaching the regime’s strict dress code for women.
Ajamian belonged to the Basij paramilitary force linked to the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
He died in Karaj, west of Tehran, on November 3 after being attacked with “knives, stones, fists, kicks” and dragged along a street, a judiciary spokesman said at the time.
The court of first instance had sentenced Karami and Hosseini to death in early December, Mizan said.
On Tuesday the Supreme Court upheld the sentence.
Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, director of Oslo-based Iran Human Rights (IHR), said both men “were subjected to torture, sentenced after sham trials… without the minimum standards for due process.”
In a tweet, he said the latest executions “must have even stronger consequences” for Iran’s regime and specifically urged “new and stronger sanctions against individuals and entities.”
Karami’s parents had in December issued a video pleading with the judiciary to spare his life.
“I respectfully ask the judiciary, I beg you please, I ask you.. to remove the death penalty from my son’s case,” said Mashallah Karami, describing his son as a former national karate team member.
Karami’s father had told Iranian media that a family lawyer had not been able to access his son’s case file.
Mohamad Aghasi, whom the family wanted to handle the case, wrote on Twitter that Karami had not been allowed to have a final meeting with his family and had foregone food and water in protest.
IHR gave Karami’s age as 22 Hossein was 39, according to another Norway-based rights group, Hengaw.
They were among 14 people courts have sentenced to death over the unrest, according to an AFP count based on official information.__Tribune.com