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U.S. Condemns Executions In Iran Of Two More Men In Connection With Protests

By RFE/RL's Radio Farda January 07, 2023

The United States has joined the European Union in condemning the execution of two men in Iran on January 7 after they were found guilty of killing a member of the Basij force during antiestablishment protests.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price condemned "in the strongest terms" what he called the "sham trials & execution" of the two men for killing the paramilitary force member in November.

"These executions are a key component of the regime's effort to suppress protests. We continue to work with partners to pursue accountability for Iran's brutal crackdown," Price said on Twitter.

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said earlier that the EU was "appalled" by the executions.

"This is yet another sign of the Iranian authorities' violent repression of civilian demonstrations," Borrell's spokesperson said. "The European Union calls once again on the Iranian authorities to immediately end the strongly condemnable practice of imposing and carrying out death sentences against protesters."

Iran's judicial news agency Mizan Online announced the executions of Mohammad Mahdi Karami and Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini by hanging. It described them as "the main perpetrators of the crime that led to the martyrdom of Ruhollah Ajamian" during protests in Karaj near the Iranian capital.

Karami and Hosseini were sentenced to death in early December. The Supreme Court upheld the death sentences, accusing them of killing Ajamian on November 3.

Prosecutors had said the 27-year-old Ajamian was stripped naked and killed by a group of mourners who had been attending a memorial for Hadis Najafi, who was killed in the protests in September.

Karami and Hosseini had denied the charges against them and said they had been tortured in prison.

The two men did not have access to legal counsel of their choice.

Tehran-based lawyer Mohammad Hossein Aghasi quoted Karami's father as saying the family had been able to meet him "for the last time."

Aghasi had said that the court did not allow him to represent Karami, a move that contradicted a recent claim by the head of the Supreme Court that all prisoners had the right to choose their legal representation.

The activist group HRANA quoted Karami's lawyer as saying that his client had been on a hunger strike since January 4 in Karaj Central Prison to protest the court's decision and its denial of his right to choose a lawyer of his choosing.

Last month, the opposition activist collective 1500tasvir reported that Karami said in a meeting with his family that officers beat him so badly during his arrest that they left his body in the street thinking he was dead. They realized he wasn't just as they were leaving and placed him in detention.

Human rights organizations have condemned the death sentences being handed down against protesters in Iran after what they have termed "sham trials" that were held via three hearings over six days.

Amnesty International has said the trials "bore no resemblance to a meaningful judicial proceeding."

"These men weren't executed after a judicial process, they were lynched," Hadi Ghaemi, the executive director of the New York-based Center For Human Rights In Iran, said in a statement on January 7.

"The Islamic republic is using executions and lethal force against street protesters to instill terror in the hearts of the population to crush the Iranian people's hopes and calls for change," he added.

Four people have been executed in connection with the protests triggered by the death in custody of Mahsa Amini following her arrest by Tehran's morality police for allegedly violating the hijab law.

Two men were hanged in December amid global outrage.

Iran has responded to the protests with a bloody crackdown, killing nearly 500 people, including minors. Thousands more have been arrested, including many protesters, as well as journalists, lawyers, activists, and others, amid concerns about the charges against them.

The Oslo-based Iran Human Rights Organization says more than 500 executions were carried out in Iran in 2022.

With reporting by AFP and AP

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-executions-protesters- amini-/32213272.html

Copyright (c) 2023. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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