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Iran hangs rapper in first execution over protests

Iran hangs rapper Mohsen Shekari in first execution of jailed pro-democracy protesters
2 min read
08 December, 2022
Mohsen Shekari, a 23-year-old rapper who was sentenced to death for blocking a street and wounding an officer during the protests in mid-September, is the first known person executed by Iranian authorities for participating in protests.
A protester stands next to placards with portraits of the victims of Iran's repression, near the French National Assembly in Paris on 6 December 2022. [Getty]

Iran carried out its first known execution Thursday over the protests that have shaken the regime since September, hanging a 23-year-old man after a legal process denounced as a show trial by rights groups.

Mohsen Shekari was convicted and sentenced to death for blocking a street and wounding a paramilitary during the early phase of the pro-democracy protests in mid-September.

Nationwide protests that erupted after the death of 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman Mahsa Amini on 16 September represent one of the biggest challenges to the Islamic Republic since its establishment in 1979.

The Tasnim news agency identified the person who was executed as Mohsen Shekari but gave no more details.

Authorities have been cracking down on the protests, and on Monday the Revolutionary Guards praised the judiciary for its uncompromising stand and encouraged it to swiftly and decisively issue judgements for defendants accused of "crimes against the security of the nation and Islam".

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Judiciary spokesman Masoud Setayeshi announced on Tuesday that five people indicted in the killing of a Basij militia member, Rouhollah Ajamian, were sentenced to death in a verdict that they can appeal.

Amnesty International has said the Iranian authorities are seeking the death penalty for at least 21 people in what it called, "sham trials designed to intimidate those participating in the popular uprising that has rocked Iran".

"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," it said.

Iran has blamed the unrest on its foreign foes including the United States.