Protesters rally outside Iranian prison where two men are facing execution

Rights groups say Mohammad Boroghani and Mohammad Ghobadlou moved to solitary confinement; Ghobadlou’s mother joins demonstrators, claims her son was framed

Screen capture from video purportedly showing protestors against two men on death row outside the Gohardasht prison in the northern city of Karaj, Iran, January 8, 2023. (Twitter. Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Screen capture from video purportedly showing protestors against two men on death row outside the Gohardasht prison in the northern city of Karaj, Iran, January 8, 2023. (Twitter. Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Protesters gathered late Sunday outside a prison in the northern Iranian city of Karaj amid reports that two inmates had been transferred to solitary confinement ahead of execution, according to several rights groups based abroad.

Iran has already executed several people for offenses they allegedly committed during recent anti-regime protests.

Protest monitor Tasvir1500 said a crowd, including the mother of death row inmate Mohammad Ghobadlou, demonstrated in front of Gohardasht prison, also known as Rajai Shahr, “to save the lives” of him and another prisoner, Mohammad Boroghani.

Both have been convicted of attacks on security forces and their appeals have been rejected.

Videos shared by Tasvir1500 show the crowd chanting slogans against the death sentences and comforting Ghobadlou’s mother, who tells the crowd her son was “deliberately” framed. AFP was unable to immediately verify the footage.

Lawyers for the two men are claiming they need a retrial before Iran’s Supreme Court, the Guardian reported.

Some of those protesting at the prison reportedly chanted threats of what they would do if the two men are executed.

The Islamic republic has been rocked by a wave of protests since the September 16 death in custody of Kurdish Iranian Amini, 22, following her arrest for allegedly violating Iran’s strict dress code for women.

On Monday, Iran handed down three more death sentences for offenses related to the civil unrest, the judiciary said, fueling international protests against the regime.

The latest sentences — for three men who were convicted of the killings of three security forces members — bring to 17 the official total of detainees condemned to death in connection with the nearly four months of protests.

Four executions have been carried out, while six of those convicted have been granted retrials.

In the latest ruling, Saleh Mirhashemi, Majid Kazemi, and Saeed Yaghoubi were sentenced to death for “moharebeh” — or waging “war against God” — under Iran’s Islamic sharia law, the judiciary’s Mizan Online website reported.

In addition to the sentences, which can still be appealed, they were found guilty of belonging to a “criminal group with the intention of disrupting the security of the country,” a charge that carries a 10-year jail term.

Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR) said Monday that at least 109 protesters now in detention have been sentenced to death or face charges that can carry capital punishment.

In a report, IHR gave an updated death toll of 481 killed protesters, including 64 minors.

Iranian authorities say hundreds, including members of the security forces, have been killed since the unrest began.

Human rights groups have also accused Iran of thousands of arrests, a failure to grant due legal process to defendants and extracting forced confessions.

Iran has blamed the unrest on hostile foreign forces, and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Monday that authorities had been dealing “seriously and justly” with those implicated in the “riots.”

“There is no doubt that there are economic and livelihood problem, but can this problem be solved by burning trash cans and rioting in the streets?” he said, according to his official website.

“Undoubtedly, these actions are treason, and the responsible institutions deal with treason seriously and justly.”

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