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Iran’s regime executed three innocent men on May 19 whom security forces arrested last year during anti-government protests. In a brief trial devoid of due process, Tehran falsely accused Majid Kazemi, 30, Saleh Mirhashemi, 36, and Saeed Yaghoubi, 37, of killing a police officer and two Basij paramilitary group members at a demonstration on November 25, 2022. The regime extracted their confessions through torture, which included threats of rape with a baton, electric shocks, and whipping, according to Kazemi.

Expert Analysis

“The regime is responsible for these unjust executions and should be blamed. However, the United States and the Europeans have not done much beyond some targeted sanctions, which are mostly symbolic, to pressure the regime on the human rights front. Iranians feel they are alone and have been abandoned, and they are right.” Saeed Ghasseminejad, FDD Senior Iran and Financial Economics Advisor

“Iran’s continued use of forced confessions to trigger the death penalty in its system of injustice represents yet another attempt by the state to exact vengeance against street protestors. The uptick in executions also indicates the regime’s belief that it can deter future iterations of protest through additional state-sanctioned violence.” Behnam Ben Taleblu, FDD Senior Fellow

An Unjust Judicial Process

According to human rights organizations, authorities in Iran tortured Kazemi, Mirhashemi, and Yaghoubi into making videotaped confessions then sentenced them to death in a trial without a jury. All three men garnered international support through the social media hashtag #DoNotLetThemKillUs, which had become a rallying cry for their supporters. The line came from a handwritten note by the men that intermediaries conveyed out of Isfahan Central Prison. Protests outside the prison preceded the executions.

With the latest deaths, Tehran has now executed a total of seven men in connection with the nationwide demonstrations that began last September. The regime also used torture, forced video confessions, and trials without due process before the executions of Majid Reza Rahnavard, Mohsen Shekari, Mohammad Hosseini, and Mohammad Mehdi Karami. Hundreds more have died in the streets amid the regime’s violent crackdown.

A Grim Record of Executions

Iran is one of the world’s top executioners. Executions in Iran soared from 333 in 2021 to 582 in 2022. Tehran has executed at least 264 people this year, according to the Oslo-based non-profit Iran Human Rights, including more than 60 since late April alone. “This is an abominable record,” said Volker Türk, the United Nations’ high commissioner for human rights, on May 9.

Related Analysis

Protests in Iran Persist Eight Months After Death of Mahsa Amini,” FDD Flash Brief

Iran Hangs Two Protesters While 109 Face Prospect of Execution,” FDD Flash Brief

‘Adopt’ an Iranian Political Prisoner to Save a Life,” by Toby Dershowitz and Saeed Ghasseminejad

Torture TV,” by Toby Dershowitz and Talia Katz

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