Amnesty International slams Iran’s ‘chilling use of death penalty’ against protesters
LONDON: Amnesty International has condemned the “chilling use of the death penalty” by Iranian authorities in a bid to crush nationwide protests.
The human rights group said the regime in Tehran had used “sham trials” to condemn at least 21 people to death in order to “intimidate” other protesters, expressing its “shock” that Iranian politicians had called for “speedy trials and public executions.”
It said it feared the 21 people at risk of execution would just be the first of many people subjected to such treatment, with thousands arrested since the start of the unrest.
Amnesty urged all foreign governments with embassies in Tehran to “immediately send high level observers to all ongoing trials where defendants are at risk of being sentenced to death.”
Iran has been rocked by anti-regime protests since Sept. 16, following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in detention after she was arrested for wearing a headscarf improperly.
According to BBC Persian, over 16,000 people were arrested after the protests broke out following her death, and hundreds have been killed by the authorities in clashes across the country.
Those killed and detained include journalists, lawyers, human rights activists, university students and even children arrested at their schools.
Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “The Iranian authorities must immediately quash all death sentences, refrain from seeking the imposition of the death penalty and drop all charges against those arrested in connection with their peaceful participation in protests.”
She also condemned “fundamentally flawed criminal trials devoid of transparency or independence,” adding: “Two months into the popular uprising and three years on from the November 2019 protests, the crisis of impunity prevailing in Iran is enabling the Iranian authorities to not only continue carrying out mass killings but also to escalate the use of the death penalty as a tool of political repression.”
She said: “Member states of the UN Human Rights Council holding a special session on Iran next week must urgently establish an investigative and accountability mechanism to address this all-out-assault on the right to life and other human rights.”
Amnesty also said defendants had not been given to access to their own lawyers, had been denied the presumption of innocence and their right to silence and, by being sent in front of Iran’s Revolutionary Courts, their right to “a fair, public hearing before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal.”