Iran issues new death sentence as protests enter third month

Iran has issued a second death sentence in three days and clashes have killed at least six people as women-led protests over the death of Mahsa Amini in custody entered a third month on Wednesday.

Street violence raged overnight in Iran as protests intensified following Amini’s death on September 16 on the anniversary of a deadly crackdown in 2019.

Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman of Kurdish descent, died in the custody of the notorious vice squad after her arrest for allegedly violating Iran’s strict dress code for women.

“We will fight! We will die! We will take Iran back!” In a video published by social media monitor 1500tasvir, dozens of protesters could be heard chanting around a bonfire on a Tehran street.

In a widely shared video, verified by AFP, security forces appear to open fire on dozens of commuters in a Tehran metro station, causing them to scramble and fall over each other on the platform.

Organizers of the protests have called for three days of actions to commemorate hundreds of deaths in the “Bloody Aban” – or Bloody November – demonstrations that erupted on November 15, 2019 following a shocking decision to raise fuel prices.

Bazaar shops were closed and students boycotted classes before people took to the streets after dark, chanting anti-government slogans and defying tear gas, videos posted online show.

But the 1500tasvir monitor said families of the victims of the 2019 crackdown were “forced to cancel the ceremonies” due to “the threats and pressure from the Islamic Republic”.

– ‘Guards Killed’ –

Iranian authorities are struggling to contain protests, with women taking off and burning their headscarves and confronting security forces on the streets.

State media said “rioters” — a term used by officials to describe protesters — killed two members of the Revolutionary Guards and a member of the Basij paramilitary force on Tuesday.

Guard colonel Reza Almasi was shot dead in Bukan, a city in Kurdistan, Amini’s home province, and another member of the Guards, Reza Azabar, was shot in Kamyaran, a Kurdish-majority city in West Azerbaijan province, the official said. news agency IRNA.

The Basij member died after being hit by a Molotov cocktail in the southern city of Shiraz, it added.

Three protesters have been killed, two in Sanandaj and one in Kamyaran by direct fire from government forces, the Oslo-based human rights organization Hengaw said.

The unrest was fueled by anger over women’s dress codes, but has turned into a broad movement against the theocracy that has ruled Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Despite the use of deadly force by the authorities and a campaign of mass arrests that has trapped activists, journalists and lawyers, there is no sign of abating.

The Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights said on Saturday that security forces killed at least 326 people, including 43 children and 25 women, during the crackdown on the Amini protests.

IHR said at least 15,000 people have been arrested, a figure Iranian authorities deny.

– Fear of mass executions –

The judiciary said a revolutionary court on Tuesday handed down the second death sentence for the “riots” that have rocked the country since Amini’s death.

The unnamed defendant was charged with “terrorizing people in the street with a knife, setting fire to a civilian’s motorcycle and assaulting a person with a knife,” the Mizan Online website reported.

It came three days after a court issued the first death sentence in connection with the protest movement that has rocked the leaders of the Islamic Republic.

Five others have been sentenced to between five and 10 years in prison for “assembly and conspiracy to commit crimes against national security and disturbing public order,” Mizan said.

IHR director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said the second death sentence was expected and more are likely to be announced “one by one to minimize reactions”.

“We strongly condemn the death sentences issued by the judiciary of the Islamic Republic, which is part of the oppressive regime and not an independent judicial system,” he told AFP.

“Protesters have no access to lawyers in the interrogation phase, they are subjected to physical and mental torture to make false confessions and are sentenced on the basis of the confessions of the revolutionary courts.

“The international community must send a strong warning to the Islamic Republic that the execution of demonstrators will have serious consequences,” Amiry-Moghaddam said.

“We fear mass executions unless the political costs of executions increase significantly,” he told AFP.

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