Hundreds of protesters have been killed in anti-government demonstrations in Iran, and thousands more have been arrested, according to credible reports by independent human rights organizations. Now Iranian authorities have launched a new phase of retribution in response to the ongoing and wide-spread peaceful protests ignited by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody two months ago.
On November 12, a Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced an unnamed protester to death allegedly for setting fire to a government building and for “waging war against God.”
The sentence was widely denounced. Jeremy Lawrence, a spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned it and noted that at least nine other protesters have been charged with crimes carrying the death penalty. He called for the immediate release of the thousands of people arrested during the demonstrations.
Sixteen UN-appointed independent human rights experts also called for their release and urged Iranian authorities “to stop using the death penalty as a tool to squash protests.” On November 14, the European Union announced new sanctions against Iranian individuals and entities that it said were “responsible for the suppression of the Iranian protesters.” The United Kingdom announced further sanctions against Iranian officials as well.
Also on November 14, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan expressed deep concern over the reports from Iran “of mass arrests, sham trials, and now a death sentence for protesters voicing legitimate demands against a government that systematically denies basic dignity and freedom to its people.” He noted in a statement that the reported death sentence for the unidentified protester comes at the same time as news that prominent dissident and political prisoner Hossein Ronaghi was transferred from Evin prison to a hospital in Tehran after reports of torture.
“The eyes of the world are on Iran,” said National Security Advisor Sullivan. “The human rights abuses inflicted by its government must not go without consequences. The hundreds of protestors already killed at the hands of Iranian state authorities deserve justice. The torture and mistreatment of political prisoners like Mr. Ronaghi must cease.”
“The United States, standing with our partners and allies around the world, will continue to pursue accountability for those responsible for these abuses through sanctions and other means,” National Security Advisor Sullivan declared. “The United States stands staunchly with the Iranian people and their demands.”