Iran executed three men accused of carrying out a terrorist attack during last year’s nationwide protests surrounding the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. According to Mizan, a state-run news agency for Iran’s judiciary, Iranian officials executed Saleh Mirhashemi, Majid Kazemi and Saeed Yaghoubi based upon their conviction on charges of moharebeh, or enmity against god.
Mizan claimed the three men intended to subvert police and security officers by firing weapons at them. Three officers were killed in the November 2022 incident that led to Mirhashemi, Kazemi and Yaghoubi’s arrests–though it is unclear if any of the three men were actually involved in the officers’ deaths. Following their arrest, Iranian officials charged the three men with moharebeh. They were convicted in the Isfahan Revolutionary Court on January 9 on those charges and sentenced to death. The three later challenged their convictions, but on May 9 the Supreme Court upheld their sentences.
Underlying the three’s convictions, according to Mizan, was a theory that they were all involved in a terrorist organization. Their actions were allegedly taken in accordance with that organization’s goals.
The Norway-based human rights group, Iran Human Rights (IHR), condemned the three men’s executions. IHR Director Amiry-Moghaddam stated:
The execution of the three protesters are extrajudicial killings that Iranian authorities, particularly Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, must be held accountable for. Unless the Iranian authorities are met with serious consequences by the international community, hundreds of protester lives will be taken by their killing machine.
The UN also condemned the three men’s executions, writing, “We urge the Iranian Government to stop this horrific wave of executions.” UN experts called the proceedings surrounding the men “unfair” and “deeply disturbing.” They wrote:
The executions of the three men this morning underlines our concerns that the Iranian authorities continue to have scant regard for international law. The death penalty has been applied following judicial proceedings that failed to meet acceptable international standards of fair trial or due process.
IHR previously spoke on the three men’s pending executions on Wednesday. Yaghoubi’s mother reached out to IHR pleading with the organization to save the three men from execution. At the time, Iranian officials had been broadcasting recorded confessions and testimonies from the three men. According to Amiry-Moghaddam, the three men “received the death penalty based on confessions and testimonies obtained under torture and denied all fair trial rights.” Though Iran’s judiciary initially denied that the three men would be killed this week, the three men were later killed early Friday morning.
According to an April report from IHR, Iranian officials executed over 500 people in 2022 in the wake of the nationwide protests. In December 2022, one of JURIST’s Iranian correspondents wrote, “These executions, which are carried out with the aim of suppressing the protesters, have many political and social consequences…The execution of protesters is actually fueling the social movement in Iran and accelerating it.”
Since 2023 began, Iranian officials have executed 264 people.