Iran suspends protester's death sentence pending Supreme Court ruling

Mahan Sedarat's lawyer confirmed the suspension and said he has requested a retrial

Mahan Sedarat during a hearing in Tehran. Photo: Isna
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Iran has temporarily suspended the death sentence of a man convicted during nationwide protests.

An order to suspend the death sentence of Mahan Sedarat has been issued “until the judgment is issued by the Supreme Court,” the top court ruled in a statement shared by state media IRNA on Wednesday.

His lawyer Mousavi Abbas confirmed the suspension and said he had requested a retrial.

The suspension was also reported by state-affiliated outlets Isna and Shargh Daily.

The judiciary charged Mr Sedarat with Moharabeh, or “enmity against God”, for various alleged “offences” including stabbing a security officer, setting fire to a motorcycle and “destroying the complainant's phone.”

Thousands have rallied since mid-September against more than four decades of theocratic rule which has involved capital punishment for government critics, while security forces have shot protesters in their hundreds.

Iran has carried out two known executions of people arrested in the recent protests so far, holding firm to threats it would execute protesters rallying for freedom — labelled “rioters” by authorities.

Mohsen Shekari and Majidreza Rahnavard were both hanged after the judiciary accused them of Moharebeh, for allegedly injuring and murdering members of the security forces. They were both killed after speedy trials widely condemned as “sham trials” by activists, rights groups and international lawyers.

Iran International reported that Mr Rahnavard was buried in secret by authorities, without informing his family. His mother had been permitted to visit him but was not told the death sentence had been carried out until after his execution.

A protester at a rally in Berlin in solidarity with Iranian protests following the death of Mahsa Amini. EPA

The UN says Iran is holding about 14,000 people in connection with the protests, with some rights groups putting the toll at 18,000. Almost 500 others have been killed, some of whom were reportedly shot dead while watching demonstrations from their homes.

Protests broke out almost three months ago over the death of Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish-Iranian woman killed while in morality police custody. Officials said she had a heart attack — a claim quickly quashed by her family.

Tehran has tried to blame foreign powers — particularly the US and Israel — for the popular uprising, which has posed the biggest threat to its authority since the Islamic republic was established in 1979.

Demonstrations have been held across the country and have faced a particularly brutal response in the Kurdish west, and in the south-east, where security forces killed more than 90 people in what is known as Zahedan's Bloody Friday.

Updated: December 14, 2022, 4:01 PM