Iran ‘weaponizing death sentence’ to scare off anti-regime protesters, UN charges
Global organization’s rights body says Islamic Republic is wielding threats of criminal proceedings and death penalty to quash dissent, urges it to listen to grievances instead
GENEVA, Switzerland — Iran is weaponizing the death penalty to frighten the public and crush dissent, and its execution of protesters without due process amounts to state-sanctioned killing, the UN said on Tuesday.
Tehran has executed four people in connection with nearly four months of demonstrations in the country, with two more executions scheduled imminently and at least 17 other individuals reportedly sentenced to death, the United Nations Human Rights Office in Geneva said.
“Criminal proceedings and the death penalty are being weaponized by the Iranian government to punish individuals participating in protests and to strike fear into the population so as to stamp out dissent, in violation of international human rights law,” UN rights chief Volker Turk’s office said.
The Islamic Republic has been rocked by a wave of protests since the death in custody on September 16 of Kurdish Iranian Amini, 22, following her arrest for allegedly violating Iran’s strict dress code for women.
“The weaponization of criminal procedures to punish people for exercising their basic rights — such as those participating in or organising demonstrations — amounts to state-sanctioned killing,” Turk said.
“The government of Iran would better serve its interests and those of its people by listening to their grievances, and by undertaking the legal and policy reforms necessary to ensure respect for diversity of opinion, the rights to freedom of expression and assembly, and the full respect and protection of the rights of women in all areas of life.”
The UN Human Rights Office said it had received information that two further executions are imminent — that of 19-year-old Mohammad Boroughani and Mohammad Ghobadiou, 22.
“I reiterate once more my call to the government of Iran to respect the lives and voices of its people, to impose an immediate moratorium on the death penalty and to halt all executions,” Turk said.
“Iran must take sincere steps to embark on the reforms that are required and demanded by their own people for the respect and protection of their human rights.”