Iran said it executed two men on Saturday convicted of allegedly killing a paramilitary volunteer during a demonstration. The latest executions aimed to halt the nationwide protests that are now challenging the country’s theocracy.
The Iranian judiciary identified those executed as Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Mohammad Hosseini, revealing four men who have been executed in the death of Mahsa Amini since the demonstrations began in September. All have faced international criticism, expeditious trials behind closed doors.
Justice’s Mizan news agency said the men were convicted of the murder of Ruhollah Ajamian, a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Volunteer Basij Force, on November 3 in the city of Karaj, outside Tehran to have.
Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Twitter that Karami and Hosseini are “more than just two names”.
“(They were) hanged by the regime in Iran for not wanting to bow to its brutal and inhumane actions. Two more terrible fates that encourage us to increase pressure on Tehran from the EU,” she wrote.
Heavily edited footage aired on state television showed Karami speaking about the attack before a Revolutionary Court, which prosecutors say also showed a re-enactment of the attack. The other two death sentences that have already been carried out were imposed by the Iranian Revolutionary Courts.
The tribunals do not allow the accused to choose their own lawyers or even see the evidence against them. Amnesty International said the trials bore “no resemblance to any meaningful trial”.
State television also aired footage of Karami and Hosseini speaking out about the attack, although for years the network aired what activists call forced confessions.
The men were found guilty of murder and “corruption on earth,” a Qur’anic term and charge that has been leveled against others in the decades since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and carries the death penalty.
Activists say at least 16 people have been sentenced to death in closed-door hearings on charges related to the protests. Death sentences in Iran are typically carried out by hanging.
At least 517 protesters were killed and over 19,200 people arrested, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that has been closely monitoring the unrest. The Iranian authorities have not provided an official number of those killed or detained.
The protests began in mid-September when 22-year-old Amini died after being arrested by Iran’s vice squad for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code. Women have played a leading role in the protests, with many publicly shedding the mandatory Islamic headscarf known as the hijab.
The protests mark one of the biggest challenges to Iran’s theocracy since the 1979 revolution. Human rights groups say security forces have used live ammunition, bird shot, tear gas and batons to disperse protesters.
Also on Saturday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed a new hard-line police chief, official IRNA news agency reported. General Ahmad Reza Radan replaced outgoing General Hossein Ashtari at the end of Ashtari’s eight-year term.
Radan, who was acting police commander from 2008 to 2014, is known for his harsh treatment of protesters during the post-election unrest in 2009. He also imposed measures on women wearing loose Islamic veils and young men with long hair.
The US and Europe imposed sanctions on Radan for human rights abuses in 2009 and 2010.
He has headed a police research center since 2014.