Executions in Iran: World Must Respond with Strong Action Against State Killings of Protesters
Café Worker Mohsen Shekari, 23, Denied Due Process in Kangaroo Court
December 8, 2022 – The execution today in Iran of Mohsen Shekari, 23, after a trial by a kangaroo court that denied him due process emphasizes the need for urgent international action to stop the Iranian government’s killing spree to crush protests, said the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
“This was a political murder, not a judicial sentence,” said CHRI Executive Director Hadi Ghaemi. “The Islamic Republic is sending young people to the gallows to crush the country’s freedom movement.”
“The international community must significantly increase economic and diplomatic pressure to present a strong and united front against a brutal state apparatus that is jailing and killing young people to prevent them from having a say in the country’s political future,” said Ghaemi.
“The EU, the UK and other governments should recall their ambassadors, downgrade relations, and summon Iran’s diplomats to directly communicate further economic and political isolation will follow if the killing does not immediately cease,” he said.
“Without significantly strengthened and coordinated international action, the Islamic Republic will continue to kill young men and women, in executions or on the streets, for daring to object to repressive state policies,” Ghaemi added.
Shekari was hanged on the morning of December 8, 2022, in Rajaee Shahr prison in Karaj, located 20 miles west of Tehran, after being transferred there from Evin Prison in Tehran on December 3.
He was convicted of “enmity against God,” a politically motivated catchall charge, in the state’s “revolutionary” court system where he was tried without counsel of his choice for allegedly wounding a member of the basij paramilitary force who was trying to crush protests on September 25.
“Political defendants thrown into this unjust and brutal court system are denied the right to a public trial or counsel of their choice and kept in full isolation and tortured before being tried behind closed doors,” said Ghaemi. “Typically, the only evidence used by these courts are forced false ‘confessions’ obtained under coercion and during prolonged and brutal interrogations.”
“The judges in these cases are there to rubber-stamp the prosecutor and interrogators’ demands,” he added.
State media broadcast a video of Shekari making self-incriminating statements with a bruise visible on his face.
Directed by Islamic Republic intelligence agents, state media has a documented history of aiding the country’s intelligence and security apparatus in obtaining false forced “confessions” under extreme duress, including torture, and broadcasting them to defame political prisoners in the public eye.
“Mohsen worked in a coffee shop,” said Babak Aghebati, who said he spent 20 days in the same cell with Shakeri, in an Instagram post. “I wish he hadn’t told me about how to make coffee with such passion. I wish he was alive when I made coffee this morning.”
At least 11 other people have been sentenced to death in connection with the country’s ongoing protest movement that exploded onto the streets after the death in state custody of Mahsa Amini, 22, whose Kurdish name was Jina, on September 14, 2022. In addition, at least 28 others, including children, are facing charges that can carry the death penalty.
CHRI can confirm the names of the following death row detainees and their locations:
- Sahand Nourmohammad-Zadeh – Tehran
- Mahan Sedarat Madani – Tehran
- Manouchehr Mehman Navaz – Tehran
- Mohammad Boroughani – Tehran
- Mohammad Ghobadlou – Tehran
- Hamid Ghare-Hasanlou – Karaj
- Mohammad Mehdi Karami – Karaj
- Saman Yasin (Syedi) – Tehran
- Ali Moazzemi Goudarzi – Karaj
- Hossein Mohammadi – Karaj
“They dismissed my son’s lawyer,” said the mother of Kurdish rapper Saman (Yasin) Seyedi, 24, who is on death row, in a video published on social media.
“I beg people… everyone, to help me save my son,” she said as she wept. “Where in the world do they take someone’s life because of a garbage bin? My son’s an artist, not a rioter,” she said.
At least 475 protesters, including children and women, have been killed, and more than 18,240 protesters arrested since mid-September, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency.
“Not a single Iranian official has been accountable for the killing of Mahsa Jina Amini, or the more than 400 protesters who’ve been slain thus far,” said Ghaemi. “Instead, the Islamic Republic is ramping up its killing spree.”
“Unless governments around the world come together to significantly increase the diplomatic and economic costs to the Islamic Republic, the international community is sending a green light to this carnage,” he added.
Read this article in Persian