Iran sentences protester to death, drawing call from rights group for world to impose “consequences”

Iran has sentenced a person to death for taking part in the protests that have engulfed the country since mid-September, the judiciary’s news agency said on Monday. The unnamed person was charged with starting a fire at a government building, among other things.

“The international community must strongly warn the Islamic Republic of the consequences of executing protesters,” the director of the Norway-based group Iran Human Rights, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, said in a statement on Monday. “Summoning their ambassadors and implementing stronger effective human rights action against state officials are amongst the consequences European countries must consider.”

Iran Human Rights said that at least 20 other protesters were currently facing charges punishable by death in the country, and that the Iranian authorities could be planning to carry out a wave of hasty executions. Five other protesters were also sentenced to between five and ten years in prison for participating in the demonstrations, which the Iranian regime refers to as “riots.”

The mass protests against the Iranian regime broke out after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran’s “morality police.” She had been detained for allegedly violating the country’s strict dress code for women. With the slogan #WomanLifeFreedom, the demonstrations initially focused on women’s rights, but they have grown into a movement against the conservative Shiite Muslim clerics that have ruled the country since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Iran’s leaders have accused foreign governments of instigating the protests and called for harsh sentences to be handed down to “key perpetrators” as a deterrent. According to figures released by Iran’s judiciary, more than 2,000 people have already been charged with participating in the unrest. 

On Monday, the European Union announced fresh sanctions against Iranian individuals and entities that it said were “responsible for the suppression of the Iranian protesters.”

Those entities included the morality police squad that arrested Amini, and the country’s interior minister. The United Kingdom, no longer an EU member, also announced further sanctions against Iranian officials.

“Together with our partners, we have sent a clear message to the Iranian regime: The violent crackdown on protests must stop and freedom of expression must be respected,” U.K. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said on Monday.

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