01/24/2024, 14.58
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Iranian women prisoners on hunger strike to protest the death penalty

One of the protesters is Nobel Peace Prize winner Narges Mohammadi. The protest is a response to a wave of executions, including that of Mohammad Ghobadlou, a young man with mental issues, executed in connection with events associated with Mahsa Amini’s death. Meanwhile, the Guardian Council excludes pro-reform Rouhani from running for a seat in the Assembly of Experts.

Tehran (AsiaNews) – Scores of Iranian women political prisoners, activists and intellectuals locked up in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison are set to go on a hunger strike in an act of defiance and resistance against the Islamic Republic and its increasingly frequent use of the death penalty.

At least 61 prisoners are involved in the protest action set to start tomorrow, but more could join in coming days, all moved by yesterday’s hanging of Mohammad Ghobadlou, a young man with mental problems sentenced to death for his participation in the protest movement over the death of Mahsa Amini.

Hundreds more are on death row, with Iranian authorities increasing turning to the noose as a form of punishment.

One of the people who is joining the protest is Nobel Peace Prize winner Narges Mohammadi, who shared the prisoners' message on social media.

“The imprisoned women will resist in order to keep the names of those executed alive and spare the lives of the hundreds of individuals awaiting execution in the prisons of the Islamic Republic,” she wrote.

Ghobadlou was sentenced to death in 2022 and executed yesterday for killing a policeman during street protests, at least according to the prosecution, the judiciary-affiliated Mizan news agency reported.

For human rights groups, capital punishment is a blatant violation of international law and Iranian regulations.

Ghobadlou’s mother, Maasumeh Ahmadi, said that her son suffered from bipolar disorder and had suspended treatment for months, but this was not enough to stop the executioner, nor was an earlier order suspending the death sentence.

The young man was charged with "corruption on earth" for participating in a mass action during which he ran over some police officers with a car killing Sergeant Major Farid Karampour Hasanvand.

Ghobadlou is the 11th person to be executed in Iran, at least according to official data, in connection with mass protests that shook the Islamic Republic between late September and December 2022, following the death of Mahsa Amini.

The unrest saw hundreds of thousands of people pouring into the streets to cry for justice shouting, “Woman, Life, Freedom”.

The grassroots movement was sparked by the death of the 22-year-old woman after she was taken into the custody by the morality police for improperly covering her head at a Tehran Metro station. For women, covering their heads is mandatory in the Islamic Republic.

In 2023, the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights reported a record number of executions, 604. So far, this year, it has already documented more than 50.

One was that of a young Kurdish man. Iranian authorities have targeted Kurds and often resorted to the death penalty on specious charges. Farhad Salimi, who hailed from Saqqez, western Iran, was executed 14 years after his arrest.

According to Hengaw, a Norway-based Kurdish human rights organisation, the execution was carried out yesterday in the Ghezelhesar prison, Karaj, near Tehran.

The family had been summoned on Monday for a final visit, but were sent home and told to come back the next day. When they did, they discovered that the execution had already taken place.

Salimi was part of a group of seven arrested between December 2009 and January 2010 in the province of West Azerbaijan, accused of belonging to "Salafist groups", which they denied, their “confessions" extracted under torture.

Three have already been executed before Salimi, while the other three risk the same fate.

In recent years, international and rights groups have repeatedly accused the Iranian regime of using the death penalty as a tool to repress all forms of dissent, as it did, in the wake of the Amini affair, or on specious accusations of spying on behalf of Israel.

The Islamic Republic ranks high among countries applying the death penalty, second only to China.  For some time, it has not released official data on the number of executions.

In addition, nearly 20,000 people, including minors, have been arrested in connection with the violent crackdown against protests in 2022, plus at least 516 people killed by security forces during the first four months of the unrest.

Meanwhile, in a surprising but not unexpected move, the Guardian Council excluded former President Hassan Rouhani from running for a seat in the 88-member Assembly of Experts, a heavy blow to the country’s moderate and centrist forces. Elections are set for next March.

Despite having lost some of its authority over time, the Assembly plays a fundamental in choosing the supreme leader, and is.

Considering that Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is 84, should he die or resign, the Assembly will be called to pick a successor, who will be Iran’s third supreme leader since the Islamic Revolution after Ruhollah Khomeini and Khamenei himself.

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See also
Tehran set to vote for "Experts" assembly, real seat of power
Low turnout in Iran’s election, a slap for Supreme Leader Khamenei
04/03/2024 19:00
Press controls increase as election campaign gets underway
Death sentence upheld for two involved in protests sparked by Mahsa Amini’s death
04/01/2023 22:40
Iran’s hangman working overtime, seven Kurds executed
21/03/2023 13:56


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