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Islamic Republic of Iran’s Judiciary Vows Death Penalty for Thousands of Detained Protesters

A police officer in Tehran, Iran. - ROUZBEH FOULADI / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTOPHOTO © Provided by News 360
A police officer in Tehran, Iran. – ROUZBEH FOULADI / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTOPHOTO © Provided by News 360

Amidst ongoing protests for nearly two months from Iranian citizens over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini at the hands of the Islamic morality police, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Judiciary has vowed to use the death penalty in sentencing over 14,000 detained protesters. 

The threat came from hardline lawmakers in the Iranian parliament last week and then echoed by Masoud Setayeshi, a spokesperson for the Islamic Republic’s Judiciary, who said that courts will deal firmly with anyone who has caused ‘disruption or commits crimes” during the ongoing anti-government protests throughout the country.

Many pro-democratic Iranian activists describe the statement from the Judiciary as “ominous,” given the lack of independent courts in Iran. 

Prosecutors and judges answer to the same Judiciary controlled by Islamic hardliners and enact sentences favorable to the regime. 

Activists also note that in Iran’s current governing system, political trials have no due process of law, no freedom to choose defense lawyers, and little access to case files.

Thousands have been indicted in connection with what the Islamic regime calls “riots.” 

The government has called the protesters rioters without having a demonstration permit for anyone other than its loyal followers. 

Following the death of Mahsa Amini by the government’s morality police for not wearing her hijab correctly, anti-government demonstrations erupted in September and are still ongoing. Since then, various human rights agencies have reported that several hundred protesters have been killed, including minors, but that the Islamic Republic’s security forces have also sustained casualties.

The Norway-based human rights organization known as the Center for Human Rights in Iran expressed concern over the last week regarding the fate of detained protesters. 

In their statement, the group said that dozens of protesters have been “charged with the security-related accusation of ‘moharebeh'(fighting God) and ‘corruption on earth’ which carry the death penalty.”

Last month, Iranian state media said that more than 46 members of the security forces, including police officers, had been killed. Members of the Islamic government have not provided an estimate of any wider death count.

In response to the reports, officials from the regime, ranging from Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, accused foreign enemies like the U.S. of fomenting the unrest. 

Reports from media outlets indicate more than 220 hardline Iranian lawmakers who urged the Judiciary to “deal decisively” with the perpetrators followed the same unsubstantiated argument that protesters are foreign agents working for the C.I.A. or the Israeli Mossad.

Since its establishment in 1979, the Islamic Republic of Iran enacted strict Islamic law against individuals who defied the regime, executing dissidents by firing squad and hanging by cranes. Experts familiar with the Islamic court system know that many protesters will face brutal interrogations, beatings, and deaths of prison officials, forcing them to confess that they are foreign agents.

While many nations condemned the Islamic Republic over its treatment of prisoners, the regime has continued to get away with its rulings without facing any consequences. 

At the State Department, U.S. spokesperson Ned Price told reporters that the Biden administration condemns the Islamic Republic’s actions, saying that the protests are about the “heartfelt aspirations of the Iranian people.”

The Islamic Republic of Iran is currently facing enormous international pressure from the European Union and the U.S. to cease its crackdowns and listen to the demands of the Iranian people.

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