Iran's supreme court orders retrial for rapper facing execution

Kurdish singer reportedly sentenced to death over anti-government protests

Demonstrators in Berlin wear photographs of Majid Reza Rahnavard, a 23-year-old man executed by Iran on December 12 for allegedly killing two members of the security forces during anti-government protests. Getty Images
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Iran's supreme court has ordered the retrial of a Kurdish rapper who was reportedly sentenced to death over anti-government protests, the judiciary's news agency reported on Saturday.

Protests have gripped Iran since the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian of Kurdish origin, after her arrest in Tehran for an alleged breach of the Islamic republic's dress code for women.

Iran this month executed two people in connection with the protests. It has sentenced another 11 people to death. One of them, Mahan Sedarat, secured a retrial earlier this week.

On Saturday, the judiciary's Mizan Online website said the Kurdish rapper Saman Seydi, also known as Saman Yasin, and another protester, Mohammad Ghobadlou, would be retried.

Hours later, however, Mizan issued a statement from the supreme court that said Mr Ghobadlou's appeal had been rejected and confirmed his sentence. It did not elaborate.

Rights groups outside Iran have said Mr Seydi and Mr Ghobadlou had been facing the death penalty based on accusations of involvement in the protests.

Mizan did not specify the verdicts, but confirmed both were charged with offences punishable by death.

Mr Ghobadlou was charged in Tehran with "corruption on earth" for "attacking police with a car, which resulted in the death of one officer and the injury of five others".

Mr Seydi was accused of "moharebeh", which means "enmity against God". Rights groups said the rapper had been accused of firing a pistol into the air three times during the demonstrations.

Saturday's developments come three days after Mizan said the supreme court had ordered the retrial of Mr Sadrat, who had been sentenced to death after being convicted of capital offences during the protests.

Iran has arrested thousands of people over the unrest in which the authorities say more than 200 people have been killed, including dozens of security personnel.

Rights group HRANA said that as of Friday 506 civilians had been killed, including 69 minors, during the protests. It said 66 members of the security forces had also been killed. As many as 18,516 protesters are believed to have been arrested, it said.

A top state security body said earlier this month that 200 people, including members of security forces, had lost their lives in the unrest.

The Islamic republic has already executed two young men over the protests.

Majidreza Rahnavard, 23, was hanged in public on December 12 after being sentenced to death by a court in second city Mashhad for allegedly killing two members of the security forces with a knife.

Four days earlier, Mohsen Shekari, also 23, was executed for allegedly wounding a member of the security forces.

Campaigners say a dozen other defendants are charged with offences that could also see them receive the death penalty.

With reporting from agencies

Updated: December 24, 2022, 12:58 PM