Iran, still summary trials and quick executions: the tough hand of the government against the protesters continues to claim victims

Iran, still summary trials and quick executions: the tough hand of the government against the protesters continues to claim victims

ROME - Majid Kazemi, Saleh Mirhashemi and Saeed Yaghoubi were executed a few days ago following an unfair trial, without evidence, based on confessions extracted under torture. The three boys were sentenced to death less than two months after their arrest and killed just weeks after the Supreme Court approved their sentences. The Court never took into consideration the evidence of the torture that the three had suffered while in captivity. For Amnesty International the impressive speed with which these men were executed shows the contempt Iranian authorities have for the right to life and a fair trial.

History. Majid Kazemi, Saleh Mirhashemi and Saeed Yaghoubi were jailed in November 2022 for taking part in nationwide demonstrations in the city of Esfahan triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for not wearing a proper hijab and died in detention. According to information gathered by Amnesty, the three men were tortured during interrogation and forced to release the statements on the basis of which the charges against them were formulated.

The tortures. According to the testimonies collected, the police suspended Majid Kazemi upside down to show him a video in which his brother, also in prison, was being tortured. Prosecutors subjected Majid Kazemi to at least fifteen mock executions, placing him on a chair and placing a rope around his neck, only to save him at the last minute. In the days leading up to his trial, authorities threatened to kill his brothers if he didn't accept the charges against him and confess to whatever they told him to say. In an audio message recorded inside the Dastgerd prison, where the three men were held, Kazemi swore that he was innocent and that he accepted the official police story due to the torture he suffered and out of fear that the authorities would retaliate against him. his family.

The process. The three men were tried in December 2022, one month after their arrest, and in January 2023 they were sentenced to death on charges of "enmity against God". The authorities forced the three to confess to having used weapons in protests in Esfahan, during which three members of the security forces died. In the audio recorded in the prison Kazemi clearly states that he did not have any weapons with him during the demonstration. In any case, the court did not charge or convict them for the policemen's deaths, but used the vague and uncertain formula of "enmity against God". The sentences were upheld by the Supreme Court on May 10 and the executions took place a few days later. Amnesty International underlines how the same authorities, on several occasions, had told the families of the three men that they would release them for lack of evidence. After executing Majid Kazemi, the police arrested one of his brothers.

The death penalty as an instrument of political repression. These executions - Amnesty denounces - are designed by the Iranian authorities to tell the world and the Iranian people that they will stop at nothing or anyone to stop and punish dissent. But in the absence of a robust international response, the powers that be in Iran will continue to enjoy impunity with lethal consequences for the people, deprived of their time and right to a fair trial. According to data released by the non-governmental organization Iran Human Rights, in 2023 Tehran has already executed 273 people.

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