Iran hangs 3 people on charges of violence during anti-government protests, sparks flare up

Iran on Friday executed three people it said were involved in the deaths of three members of its security forces during last year’s anti-government protests, sparking protests at home and abroad.

Majid Kazemi, Saleh Mirhashmi and Saeed Yaghoubi were executed in the central city of Isfahan, making them “martyrs” on November 16, two members of the Basij paramilitary force and a police officer, the judiciary said in a statement on Twitter.

Amnesty International said the fast-paced trial of the men was flawed and used “torture-tainted ‘confessions'”.

Iran denies that confessions are extracted under torture.

Friday’s executions marked at least seven protesters have been hanged since the start of the nationwide protests last autumn and became one of the boldest challenges to the clerical leadership since the 1979 revolution.

They were enraged by the death on September 16 of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman in the custody of Iran’s morality police.

In anticipation of their impending execution, the three men appealed for public support on Wednesday in a handwritten note saying, “Don’t let them kill us”.

“We need your help,” said the note that has gone viral on social media.

Families and supporters held a vigil outside Dastgard prison in Isfahan in support of the three men who were being held inside. Street protests broke out in Isfahan, the capital Tehran and some other cities after the executions were announced, according to videos posted on social media.

“We swear by the blood of our comrades to stand firm until the end,” protesters in Tehran said in a video, which Reuters could not independently verify.

A spokesman said the EU condemned the execution “in the strongest possible terms”. Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong condemned the executions as “reprehensible killings” and said on Twitter: “Australia stands with the people of Iran.”

UN rights experts said in a statement that they are “deeply concerned” by the continued executions of protesters in Iran.

State media broadcast videos presented as confessions from the defendants, which Amnesty International said were extracted by torture.

“The shocking way these protesters’ trial and punishment were fast-tracked through Iran’s judicial system amidst torture-tainted ‘confessions’, serious procedural lapses and a lack of evidence, is an example of the brazen defiance of the Iranian authorities.” For example, for the right to life and a fair trial, Amnesty said in a report on Wednesday.

Majid Kazemi said in an audio recording from prison that interrogators beat him, gave him electric shocks, mocked him, and after threatening to rape him, kill his brothers and harass his parents She was coerced into making false statements,” Amnesty said.

The men were sentenced to death on charges of “enmity against God” for alleged possession of firearms.

US State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel called on Iran not to execute the three men, telling reporters on Thursday that their execution would be an affront to human rights.