Mon, 30 Jan 2023

Iran Government Indicates Execution of Protesters Will Continue

Voice of America
10 Dec 2022, 07:06 GMT+10

One day after announcing the execution of an anti-government protester, Iranian state media said Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and other government officials pledged to continue to crack down on unrest in the country despite widespread condemnation from the West.

On Thursday, Iranian state media reported that 23-year-old Mohsen Shekari was hanged that morning after being convicted of blocking a street and attacking a security force member in Tehran.

Iranian courts have issued at least 10 death sentences for people arrested in connection with the protests, but Shekari was the first person executed.

Britain responded Friday by announcing wide-ranging sanctions against 30 people worldwide. Germany condemned the execution and summoned Iran's ambassador in Berlin. European diplomats said the European Union prepared to finalize additional sanctions on Iran when foreign ministers meet Monday in Brussels.

A person in the Cypriot capital, Nicosia, checks a mobile phone on Dec. 8, 2022, displaying a tweet about the hanging by Iranian authorities of Mohsen Shekari. A person in the Cypriot capital, Nicosia, checks a mobile phone on Dec. 8, 2022, displaying a tweet about the hanging by Iranian authorities of Mohsen Shekari.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Tuerk told reporters in Geneva on Friday he found the execution to be 'Very troubling and clearly designed to send a chilling effect to the rest of the protesters.'

Iranian officials dismissed the Western criticism as hypocrisy, double standards and interference, and vowed to continue dealing with protesters as they have.

Iran's IRNA news service reported that Raisi, speaking Friday at a ceremony honoring security forces killed during protests, said, 'The identification, trial and punishment of the perpetrators of the martyrdom [killing] of security forces will be pursued with determination.'

The news service also quoted Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian as saying 'rioters and perpetrators of violence and terrorism will be judged according to the country's judicial law.'

Social media posts indicate protests in Iran continued overnight and into Friday, with video showing protesters taking to the street where Shekari was arrested, shouting, 'They took away our Mohsen and brought back his body.'

Elsewhere, chants of 'Death to the dictator' and 'Death to Sepah' were heard at a demonstration in Tehran's Chitgar district, in reference to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

Hamed Esmaeilion, an Iranian Canadian activist who has organized mass protests in Berlin, Paris and other cities, said more demonstrations would be held this weekend.

He wrote on his Twitter account, 'Regardless of belief and ideology, let's join these gatherings in protest against the brutal execution of #MohsenShekari.'

The civil unrest in Iran was triggered by the September death of an Iranian Kurdish woman, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who had been detained by the country's morality police for not wearing her hijab properly.

A sister of Iran's supreme leader has condemned the crackdown on protesters and called on the Revolutionary Guard to stand down, according to a letter published by her son in France.

Some information for this report was provided by the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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