DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Iran executed a second prisoner on Monday convicted of crimes committed during nationwide protests challenging the country’s authoritarian rule.he is hung on a span from a construction crane as a warning to others.
Majidreza Rahnavard’s execution came less than a month after he allegedly stabbed two members of the army after being threatened by security forces for killing protesters.
The development shows Iran’s speed in carrying out death sentences imposed on those arrested in demonstrations the government hopes to release..
Activists warn that dozens of people have been sentenced to death in closed meetings. At least 488 people have been killed since the demonstrations began in mid-September, according to Iran Human Rights Watch, a group that monitors the protests. Another 18,200 people have been arrested by the authorities.
Iran’s Mizan news agency, which is under trial by the country, published a series of photos of Rahnavard hanging from a crane, his hands and feet bound, a black bag over his head.
Members of the secret security forces stood in front of concrete and metal barriers during a rally on Monday morning in the Iranian city of Mashhad.
Mizan alleged that Rahnavard stabbed two members of the security forces to death on November 17 in Mashhad and injured four others.
Footage shown on state television showed one man chasing another around a street corner, then standing over him and stabbing him after he crashed into a motorbike. stop. One showed the same person who stabbed the other right after. The killer, known as Rahnavard on TV, runs away.
Mizan’s report identified the dead as Basij “students,” paramilitary volunteers under Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.. The Basij (ba-SEEJ’) have been deployed in cities, attacking and detaining protesters, in many cases fighting.
A heavily edited state television report after Rahnavard’s execution showed him in the courtroom. In the video, he says he hates the Basijis after seeing videos on social media of forces beating and killing protesters.
Mizan’s report accused Rahnavard of trying to flee to a foreign country when he was arrested.
Mashhad, a Shiite holy city, is located 740 kilometers (460 miles) east of Iran’s capital, Tehran. Activists say they have seen weapons, closed shops and demonstrations in the riots that began with the September 16 death in prison of Mahsa Aminia 22-year-old woman was arrested by Iran’s moral police.
According to Mizan, Rahnavard was tried at the Mashhad Circuit Court. The tribunals have been criticized internationally for not allowing those on trial to choose their own lawyers or to see evidence on their behalf.
Rahnavard was convicted of “moharebeh,” a Farsi word meaning “fighting God.” The same accusation has been made against others in the decades since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the death penalty.
Among the images of his execution, there is a banner bearing the Quranic verse: “So, the recompense of those who fight against Allah and His Apostle, who try to do evil on earth , they will be killed, or crucified, or put to death. Their hands and feet will be cut off on one side, or they will be driven out of the land.
Public executions and cranes have been rare in recent years, although Iran has taken similar steps to quell the unrest that followed a disputed 2009 presidential election and protests in the next Green Movement.
In fact, the condemned were still alive when the crane lifted them off their feet, hanging from the ropes and struggling to breathe before they were dismembered and broken. or of the neck.
Activists have pressured companies that send cranes to Iran in the past, warning they could be used for sanctions.
From Brussels, European Union foreign ministers expressed their dismay at the latest execution. The bloc will on Monday approve a new series of sanctions against Iran for its crackdown on protesters and for sending drones to Russia to use in its war against Ukraine, a senior official said.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said he spoke to Iran’s foreign minister about Tehran’s response to the protests and the latest killings and “it’s not an easy conversation.”
“We will accept a very difficult budget,” Borrell told reporters as he arrived to chair a ministerial meeting in Brussels. Finland’s foreign minister said he also told his Iranian counterpart.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the punishment was “an attempt to intimidate” the Iranians.
“We understand that we stand with the innocent people in Iran,” Baerbock said as he arrived at the Brussels meeting. “A system that treats its citizens like this cannot hope to maintain relations with the European Union.”
Iran is one of the world’s most notorious executioners, and often executes prisoners by hanging. The first prisoner was killed was arrested in demonstrations last Thursday. This year, more than 500 prisoners have been killed, the most in five years, according to the group of Iran Human Rights in Oslo.
“In the absence of serious measures to prevent the Islamic Republic from killing protesters, there will be more atrocities like the 1980s execution of political prisoners,” the group warned on Monday. That refers to the executions in 1988 that were partially overseen by Iran’s now hard-line President Ebrahim Raisi that activists believe saw 5,000 prisoners killed..
Amnesty International said it had obtained a document signed by a top Iranian police chief calling for “the execution of one prisoner ‘in the shortest possible time’ and his public execution” widely as a ‘heartwarming gesture to him. security forces.'”
Amidst the turmoil, Iran is also being hit by an economic crisis that has seen the national currency, the rial, depreciate against the US dollar..
Associated Press writers Lorne Cook in Brussels and Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this report.