Iran: oppose death penalty for detained protesters

Sixteen UN-appointed human rights experts called on Iranian authorities Nov. 11 not to indict people on charges punishable by death for participating in peaceful demonstrations. "We urge Iranian authorities to stop using the death penalty as a tool to squash protests and reiterate our call to immediately release all protesters who have been arbitrarily deprived of their liberty for the sole reason of exercising their legitimate rights to freedom of opinion and expression," the experts said in a statement. (UN News) Since then at least five people have been sentenced to death on the charge of moharebeh ("enmity against God") in connection with the anti-government protests that have been raging for two months. A popular Kurdish rap artist, Saman Yasin, is among those facing execution. Days before the UN statement, 227 members of Iran's 290-member parliament approved a resolution demanding that the judiciary "deal decisively" with "rioters"—taken to mean imposing the death penalty. (BBC News, Iran International, Reuters, Arab News)

Iran is believed to execute more people annually than any other country except China. At least 14,000 people have been arrested since the protests began, with some 350 killed by the security forces. At least five protesters have been sentenced to terms of between five and 10 years in prison, including one who allegedly set fire to a government building. (The Guardian, Arab News, CNN)

Two prominent Iranian film and stage actors, Hengameh Ghaziani and Katayoun Riahi, have been arrested for posting videos of themselves without hijab—a gesture of solidarity with the protests. (BBC News, IranWire, ScreenDaily)

On Nov. 20, the military was deployed to put down protests in the northern Kurdish city of Mahabad, West Azarbaijan province. Video posted to social media shows armored vehicles in the streets, and troops have reportedly fired into the crowds, although a death toll is not yet known. (Iran International)

In Sistan-Baluchistan province, protest blockades have repeatedly halted operations at the Taftan gold mine—a source of much wealth for the government, despite the fact that Baluchistan is among the poorest regions of the country. (RFE/RL)

Disputed death toll in Iran protests

An Iranian general on Nov. 29 acknowledged that more than 300 people have been killed in the nationwide protests, citing a figure significantly lower than the 448 deaths reported by Iran Human Rights. General Amir Ali Hajizadeh’s comments mark the first time Iranian authorities have acknowledged the death toll since protests began in September. (Jurist)

First execution in Iran protests

Iran has announced what is the first publicly known execution of a person convicted for an alleged crime stemming from the country's ongoing protests. The man executed was identified as Mohsen Shekari. He was convicted of "waging war against God" for allegedly attacking a security officer with a knife and closing off a street in Tehran. (Al Jazeera)

Second execution in Iran protests

The judiciary of Iran on Dec. 12 announced the execution of protestor Majidreza Rahnavard, who was hanged publicly in Mashhad. The Mashhad Revolutionary Court convicted Rahnavard of killing two members of the Basij paramilitary force. (Jurist)

Iran ousted from UN women's rights panel

A US-led effort to push Iran off a United Nations panel that promotes women's rights succeeded on Dec. 14, as the Commission on the Status of Women voted 29-to-8 to oust Iran. Yet of the 54 countries eligible to vote, at least 16 abstained. (Politico, Quartz)

Iranian actor arrested after criticism of death penalty

Taraneh Alidoosti, one of Iran's most famous actors, has been detained by security forces in Tehran days after she criticised the state’s use of the death penalty against protesters.

She had previously posted a picture of herself on her Instagram page in which she was not wearing the hijab and holding a piece of paper reading "women, life, freedom," the slogan of the protest movement. Alidoosti, 38, was detained for "publishing false and distorted content and inciting chaos."

She is best known for her role in the Oscar-winning 2016 film The Salesman. (The Guardian, NDTV)

Tehran doctor tortured, killed after treating protesters

Dr. Aida Rostami, a 36-year-old physician, was found dead with signs of torture after being arrested for treating injured protesters in their homes.

According to Iran International, Dr. Rostami’s body had one eye removed and half of her face crushed. Her family received the body a day after she was arrested.

The Iranian government said she was killed in a car accident. (IranWire, Inquirer

Two more protesters sentenced to death in Iran

Two Iranian protesters, including one teenager, face the death penalty for their involvement in continued protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, rights groups reported on Jan. 2. Oslo-based Iran Human Rights reported that Mehdi Mohammadifard, an 18-year-old protester in Noshahr, has been sentenced to two death penalties for charges of efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth) and moharebeh (enmity against god). Writer and artist Mehdi Bahman was sentenced to death for charges of "espionage and contact with Israel." (Jurist)

Iran: protestor tortured before being sentenced to death

An Iranian protestor sentenced to death earlier this week was tortured beforehand, according to Iran human rights sources. Mansour Dehmardeh was convicted of "spreading corruption on earth" through his participation in the continuing protests. Dehmardeh was arrested Oct. 11, 2022, in Zahedan, where he was said to have ben subject to severe torture for 10 days while being held incommuicado. (Jurist

Third and fourth executions in Iran protests

Two men have been hanged in Iran for killing a member of the security forces during nationwide protests against the government last year. Mohammad Mahdi Karami and Seyed Mohammad Hosseini had appealed against their sentences, saying they had been tortured into making false confessions. (BBC News)

Iranian couple gets 10 years for dancing

An Iranian couple in their 20s have been given prison sentences totalling 10 years each after posting a video of themselves dancing in the street. They were reportedly convicted for promoting corruption, prostitution and propaganda. The video showed them dancing by Tehran's iconic Azadi Tower. (BBC News)

Film-maker Jafar Panahi begins hunger strike in Iranian prison

One of Iran's foremost film-makers, Jafar Panahi, is on hunger strike in protest at his continued detention in Tehran's Evin prison, his wife has said. The Cannes award-winner and director of No Bears began refusing food after plans for his release were dashed, even though his lawyer had successfully challenged his detention.

Panahi was arrested in early July, before the current wave of protests, after he went to Evin to protest over the detention days earlier of two film-maker colleagues, Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Aleahmad.

Iranian authorities decided to reactivate sentences imposed in 2010 along with a 20-year ban on travel and film-making over his attendance at the funeral of a student shot dead in the 2009 green revolution protests, and his later attempt to make a film about the uprising. (The Guardian)

Iranian film-maker Jafar Panahi released on bail

Acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi has been released on bail from Tehran's Evin prison after going on hunger strike to protest his detention. (Al Jazeera)