[Source: The West Australian]
Two men have been hanged in Iran for allegedly killing a member of the military during nationwide protests.
Mohammad Mahdi Karami and Seyed Mohammad Hosseini were found guilty of “corruption on earth” over their alleged involvement in the death of a paramilitary officer.
Human rights groups have denounced what they described as a “sham” trial.
The family of 22-year-old Mr Karami say they were not permitted to meet him before he was killed.
Prosecutors claimed paramilitary officer Ruhollah Ajamian was stripped naked and killed by a group of mourners paying their respects to a recently-killed protester.
Protests against Iran’s clerical establishment erupted in September following the death in custody of a woman who was detained by morality police for allegedly wearing her hijab, or headscarf, “improperly”.
At least 516 protesters have been killed so far, including 70 children, and 19,262 others arrested, according to the foreign-based Human Rights Activists’ News Agency (HRANA). It has also reported the deaths of 68 security personnel.
Many of those who have been detained after protests have reportedly been subjected to enforced disappearance, incommunicado detention, torture and other ill-treatment.
Iranian officials describe the protests as “riots” and have accused foreign powers of fuelling the unrest.
The men were first sentenced to death in December 2022 but they appealed against their sentencesa after they claimed they were tortured into making false confessions.
Lawyers representing Mr Hosseini said he was beaten and blindfolded while in prison.
“He was tasered and beaten on the soles of his feet with a metal rod,” Ali Sharifzadeh Ardakani said.
Iran’s Supreme Court upheld the sentence on 3 January.
Mohammad Mahdi Karami’s family pleaded with authorities to spare his life
Prior to his death, Mr Karami’s lawyer said he was on a hunger strike as he had been refused the right to choose his own lawyer for the legal proceedings. Instead he relied on state-appointed attorneys.
His parents pleaded with the judiciary to spare his life. “I beg you please, I ask you… to remove the death penalty from my son’s case,” his father said.
The journalist who interviewed Mr Karami’s parents was later arrested by police and remains in custody, according to the Centre for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
CHRI Executive Director Hadi Ghaemi said the men were “lynched” and had no prospect of a fair trial.
“The Islamic Republic is using executions and lethal force against street protesters to instil terror in the hearts of the population to crush the Iranian people’s hopes and calls for change.”
He said countries worldwide should impose harsher repercussions on Iran, including the withdrawal of their ambassadors.
Amnesty International described the trial as a “fast-tracked unfair group trial” and said Iranian authorities were seeking the death penalty for at least 26 others.
Three other men have been sentenced to death in the same case, while another 11 received prison sentences.
The latest hangings bring the number of people executed in Iran since December to four.
In December, 23-year-old Majidreza Rahnavard was hanged publicly from a crane for allegedly killing two members of the security forces with a knife and wounding four others and another 23-year-old, Mohsen Shekari, was killed for allegedly blocking a street and wounding a member of Iran’s Basij force with a knife.