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Iran top judge says protester executions to be based on law, not political pressure

[JURIST] Top Iranian judge Sadeq Larijani said Monday that any further executions of anti-government protesters [JURIST news archive] will be based on the law [statement, in Persian] rather than on political pressure. Refusing to heed calls for more executions to stop opposition demonstrations, Larijani emphasized that all penalties will observe Iranian law, which is rooted in Islamic Sharia law [CFR backgrounder]. The comments come just days after two protesters were executed by hanging [JURIST report] and nine others sentenced to death [press release, in Persian] on charges of mohareb, or being enemies of God. Larijani, who was appointed head of the Supreme Judiciary [official website, in Persian] by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei [Telegraph profile] previously declared the 2009 post-election protests illegal [FNA report, in Persian], stating that they were based on unrealistic claims of election fraud.

In January, Iran's Prosecutor-General Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei [GlobalSecurity profile] called for sedition trials [JURIST report] against leaders of protests following last June's contested presidential election [JURIST news archive]. The Iranian government has faced significant international scrutiny for its handling of the post-election protests and treatment of thousands arrested as a result. Last month, Amnesty International labeled [JURIST report] human rights violations committed by the Iranian government following the election among the worst of the past 20 years. In September, human rights groups called for [JURIST report] the UN General Assembly [official website] to appoint a special envoy to investigate allegations of rights violations. Alleged human rights abuses of detainees include sexual assault, beatings, and forced confessions [JURIST reports].

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