Iran has executed a man for allegedly injuring a paramilitary officer in the first known execution linked to revolution that have swept the country since September, state media reported on December 8. Mizan Online, a news agency affiliated with Iran’s judiciary, and the semi-official Tasmin news agency both named the protester as Mohsen Shekari. He was reportedly convicted of “waging war against god” for allegedly stabbing a member of the Basij paramilitary force at a protest in Tehran on September 23. Shekari was sentenced to death on October 23, and executed by hanging on December 8, according to Mizan Online. It was the first execution connected to the protests to be publicly reported by state media.
Iran Human Rights, a non-profit rights organization that has members inside and outside the country, has called for a strong international response to the execution. “His execution must be met with the strongest possible terms and international reactions. Otherwise, we will be facing daily executions of protesters who are protesting for their fundamental human rights,” the group’s director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said in a statement. Amiry-Moghaddam said that Shekari was executed without any due process or access to a lawyer of his choice in a “show trial” by the Revolutionary Court.
Several European governments strongly criticized Iran for the execution. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in a tweet that Shekari “was tried and executed in a perfidious rushed trial for disagreeing with the regime.” “The Iranian regime’s inhumanity knows no bounds,” she said. “But the threat of execution will not suffocate people’s desire for freedom.” French foreign ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre said France condemned the execution in the “strongest terms” and “reiterated its strongest commitment to the right to peaceful protest.” She said the demands by the protesters are “legitimate and must be heard.” British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said he was “outraged by the tragic news of the first execution of a protestor in Iran,” while the foreign ministry of the Czech Republic, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, described the news as “appalling,” and said “the Iranian regime uses outrageously disproportionate penalties to instill terror in its population.”
Several Iranians have been sentenced to death by execution during the nationwide protests, which were sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was apprehended by the state’s morality police for allegedly not wearing her hijab properly. Her death touched a nerve in the Islamic Republic, with prominent public figures coming out in support of the movement, including top Iranian actor Taraneh Alidoosti. The protests have since coalesced around a range of grievances with the authoritarian regime.
According to Amnesty International, as of November, Iranian authorities are seeking the death penalty for at least 21 people in connection with the protests. Approximately 500 people at least have been killed in the unrest since September, according to Norway-based Iran Human Rights organization. Since the demonstrations began, authorities have unleashed a deadly crackdown, with reports of forced detentions and physical abuse being used to target the country’s Kurdish minority group. Meanwhile, Iran’s Supreme Leader (dictator)Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has praised the Basij, a wing of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, for its role in the crackdown, describing the protest movement as “rioters” and “thugs” backed by foreign forces.