Iran sentences five to death over killing of Basij paramilitary

Eleven others, including three children, are given long prison sentences

Fuelled by the death of Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in police custody, the Iranian authorities have responded to public anger with an iron fist. AP
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Iran has handed down five death sentences for the killing of a paramilitary during the country's nationwide protests.

Iran's judiciary confirmed the sentences in response to the death of a Basij member in the western city of Karaj last month.

Eleven people, including three minors, were also given long prison sentences for the killing of Ruhollah Ajamian, a member of the shadowy Basij group which has been instrumental in the bloody suppression of Iran's widespread anti-government protests.

The judiciary's Mizan news outlet said sentences will soon be issued for similar events in Isfahan, prompting concern about more capital punishment carried out by one of the world's biggest executioners.

The news follows the Sunday execution of four people whom the authorities accused of spying for Israel, a charge commonly levelled against dissidents.

At least 500 people have been put to death so far this year, according to Iran Human Rights, a Norway-based group.

More than 300 people have been killed and thousands of others arrested since protests began in September. These have posed the biggest challenge to Tehran's authority since the Islamic Republic was established in 1979.

Several members of the security forces have also been reported killed by protesters.

Fuelled by the death of Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in police custody, the authorities have responded to the public anger with an iron fist — charging many of the "rioters" with "corruption on Earth", which is punishable by death.

Iran is known for holding sham trials with little freedom or legal representation for the accused, and people are often forced into confessions.

Renowned wrestler Navid Afkari was executed in 2020, charged with the murder of a security agent during protests in 2018. Before his death, he said he was tortured into making a false confession.

Separately, the authorities arrested the deputy of an Iranian news agency a week after a reported cyberattack.

Abbas Darvish Tavanger was detained for "falsifying news," state media said late on Monday, adding that he would be held in custody while an investigation is carried out.

The outlet that reported the news is linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which answers only to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Updated: December 06, 2022, 12:48 PM