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Iran charges 11 for killing militiaman at ceremony for slain protester

Indictments filed against suspects for allegedly taking part in deadly assault on Basij member in Karaj last week

Basij paramilitary force members march during the annual pro-Palestinian Al-Quds, or Jerusalem, Day rally as they cover their faces in the style of Palestinian and Lebanese terrorists in Tehran, Iran, April 29, 2022. (AP/Vahid Salemi)
Basij paramilitary force members march during the annual pro-Palestinian Al-Quds, or Jerusalem, Day rally as they cover their faces in the style of Palestinian and Lebanese terrorists in Tehran, Iran, April 29, 2022. (AP/Vahid Salemi)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran has indicted 11 people over the murder of a Basij paramilitary force member during a ceremony last week in honor of a slain protester, a judiciary official said Saturday.

The incident happened on November 3 in Karaj, capital of Alborz province, when mourners were paying tribute to Hadis Najafi at the cemetery to mark 40 days after she was killed in the city.

Her death on September 21 came five days into nationwide protests that erupted after the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, following her arrest for an alleged breach of Iran’s hijab dress rules for women.

Eleven people, including a woman, had been summoned and charged over the killing of Basij member Ruhollah Ajamian, said Alborz province’s judiciary chief Hossein Fazeli Harikandi.

The indictments followed an investigation launched after images posted on social media networks showed “a group of rioters assaulting and killing” Ajamian, the judiciary’s Mizan Online website quoted him as saying.

“Rioters attacked this security officer, who was unarmed, stripped him naked, stabbed him with knives, beat him with brass knuckles, stones, and kicks, and then dragged his naked and half-dead body on the asphalt street and between cars in a horrific manner,” Harikandi added.

Some face charges of “corruption on earth,” one of the most serious offenses under Iranian law which is punishable by death.

They are also accused of serious disturbance of public order leading to murder, gathering with the intention to commit crimes against the country’s security, and propaganda against the state.

Amini, 22, died on September 16 in the custody of the morality police three days after falling into a coma, sparking street violence across the Islamic Republic.

Dozens of people, mainly demonstrators but also security personnel, have been killed during the demonstrations, which the authorities have dubbed “riots,” and hundreds more have been arrested.

The Basij is a state-sanctioned volunteer force that is linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

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