Iranian teenagers sentenced to death over protests

Demonstrators aged 18 and 19 to be hanged as human rights activists fear dozens at risk of execution

Protesters demonstrate against executions in Iran, in front of the Iranian Permanent Mission to the UN in New York. AFP
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Iran has sentenced two teenagers to be hanged for taking part in anti-government protests that have rocked the country since September, a rights group said late on Monday.

Mehdi Mohammadifard, 18, has been sentenced to death after being convicted of setting a traffic police kiosk alight in the town of Nowshahr in the central-northern Mazandaran province, the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights non-governmental organisation said.

A death sentence was also passed against Mohammad Boroghani, 19, the group said.

He had been arrested in December and held by the Supreme Court on charges of “enmity against God”, according to the judiciary's Mizan Online news website.

Boroghani had faced charges of wounding a member of security personnel with a knife with the intent of killing him, “sowing terror among citizens” and setting a governor's office on fire in Pakdasht, a city 43km south-east of Tehran.

The authorities have already executed two men, both aged 23, over protests triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini, a young Iranian Kurd who died the custody of the morality police in September.

She had been detained in Tehran for wearing her hijab “improperly”.

Human rights activists fear dozens more demonstrators face being executed, as authorities use capital punishment as an intimidation tactic in a bid to quell the protests.

IHR director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said Mohammadifard appeared to be the youngest person yet sentenced to death over the protests.

“[Iran], which has not been able to control the protests after 109 days, needs intimidation and execution to continue its survival,” Mr Amiry-Moghaddam told AFP.

At least 100 protesters are at risk of execution after being sentenced to death or being charged with capital crimes, said IHR last week.

Iranian officials have said that up to 300 people, including members of the security forces, have been killed in the protests.

Last month, IHR said that at least 458 people — including 63 children — had been killed.

Also in December, the Human Rights Activists' News Agency, established by Iranian human rights activists, reported that more than 18,200 people had been arrested in connection with the protests.

Authorities have blamed Iran's foreign enemies and their agents for orchestrating unrest.

Updated: January 03, 2023, 7:22 AM
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