Iran carries out first known protest-related execution, state media reports
Iran has executed a man for injuring a paramilitary officer in the first known execution linked to protests that have swept the country since September, state media reported Thursday.
Mizan Online, a news agency affiliated with Iran’s judiciary, and the semi-official Tasmin news agency both named the protester as Mohsen Shekari. He was reportedly convicted of “waging war against God” for stabbing a member of the Basij paramilitary force at a protest in Tehran on September 23.
Shekari was sentenced to death on October 23, and executed by hanging on Thursday morning, according to Mizan Online.
It is the first execution connected to the protests to be publicly reported by state media.
Several Iranians have been sentenced to death by execution during the nationwide protests, which were sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was apprehended by the state’s morality police for allegedly not wearing her hijab properly.
Her death touched a nerve in the Islamic Republic, with prominent public figures coming out in support of the movement, including top Iranian actor Taraneh Alidoosti. The protests have since coalesced around a range of grievances with the authoritarian regime.
According to Amnesty International, as of November, Iranian authorities are seeking the death penalty for at least 21 people in connection with the protests.
At least 458 people have been killed in the unrest since September, according to Norway-based Iran Human Rights on Wednesday.
CNN cannot independently verify the number of people facing executions in Iran, or the latest arrest figures or death tolls related to the protests, as precise figures are impossible for anyone outside the Iranian government to confirm.
Since the demonstrations began, authorities have unleashed a deadly crackdown, with reports of forced detentions and physical abuse being used to target the country’s Kurdish minority group.
In a recent CNN investigation, covert testimony revealed sexual violence against protesters, including boys, in Iran’s detention centers since the start of the unrest.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Supreme Leader has praised the Basij – a wing of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard – for its role in the crackdown, describing the protest movement as “rioters” and “thugs” backed by foreign forces.
In late November, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said Iran was in a “full-fledged human rights crisis,” and called for an independent investigation into violations of human rights in the country.