Iran executes protester over alleged killing of policeman

Iran’s judiciary announced on Tuesday that it executed a young protester who was involved in the 2022 demonstrations against police brutality, despite appeals from human rights groups and foreign lawmakers.

The Iranian judiciary announced on Tuesday that it executed Mohammad Ghobadlou, a 23-year-old protester who was convicted of killing a policeman and injuring five others by running them over with his car during a demonstration near Tehran in September 2022.

Ghobadlou was one of the thousands of people who took to the streets to protest against the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman who died in the custody of the morality police after being arrested for allegedly wearing her hijab improperly.

Ghobadlou was arrested shortly after the incident and sentenced to death in November 2022 by two separate courts on charges of murder and “corruption on Earth”, a vague term often used to punish dissenters.

Human rights groups denounced his trial as a sham, saying he was denied access to a lawyer, tortured into making a false confession, and not given a proper mental health assessment despite having a history of bipolar disorder.

Amnesty International said his execution violated international law and standards, which prohibit the use of the death penalty against people with mental disabilities.

Ghobadlou is the ninth person to have been executed in relation to their involvement in the 2022 protests, which were brutally suppressed by the security forces, resulting in hundreds of deaths and thousands of arrests.

At least four more protesters are on death row and 15 others are at risk of being sentenced to death.

Clara Bunger, a German lawmaker who had appealed to the Iranian authorities to spare Ghobadlou’s life, expressed her shock and dismay at the news of his execution.

She told to our colleagues of the Voice of America’s Persian service that Germany should urge Iran to stop the executions and free the political prisoners.

“I think it’s definitely the right thing to do to call on the Islamic Republic to end the executions because they are unlawful executions,” Bunger said. “They are unlawful trials that are taking place, and those people that are political prisoners they should be freed and they should receive a fair trial in a system where the rule of law is the base for decisions, and this is not the case.”

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