Protesters gather outside Iran's Karaj prison ahead of executions

Mohammad Ghobadlou, 22 and Mohammad Boroughani, 19, could be hanged on Monday

Protesters in France hold images of two other Iranian men, Mohammad Mehdi Karami, left, and Seyed Mohammad Hosseini, who were executed by the regime on Saturday. AFP
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Dozens of Iranian protesters have gathered outside a prison near Tehran ahead of the imminent executions of two young Iranian protesters, according to videos posted online.

Mohammad Ghobadlou, 22 and Mohammad Boroughani, 19, are on death row in the Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj, close to the capital.

The pair's death sentences were upheld by Iran’s Supreme Court, the final step before the authorities can carry out the executions.

Both prisoners were recently moved to solitary confinement before their expected execution later on Monday, according to sources who spoke to Babak Taghvaee, an Iranian journalist living in exile.

Videos posted overnight showed dozens of protesters and the condemned men's relatives shouting anti-regime slogans outside the prison and calling for the men's release.

Iran's rulers are seeking to suppress months-long nationwide protests sparked by death in custody of Mahsa Amini, 22, days after she was arrested by morality police in early September for wearing her hijab "inappropriately".

The country drew international condemnation on Saturday after it executed two men convicted of killing a pro-regime paramilitary during protests in Karaj in November.

Judicial news agency Mizan Online reported that Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Mohammad Hosseini, "the main perpetrators of the crime that led to the martyrdom of Ruhollah Ajamian" were hanged on Saturday morning.

The man who was killed belonged to the Basij paramilitary force, linked to Iran's powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The judiciary also announced death sentences for three more protesters on Monday after a three-day trial in Isfahan.

The defendants were convicted of killing of three members of the security forces in November, as well as other charges including membership of illegal groups, firing weapons and moharebeh, or enmity against God, Mizan Online reported.

The charges are similar to those faced by the four protesters Iran has executed so far, as well as many others on death row.

Mizan said two other protesters were given lengthy prison sentences, including Amir Nasr-Azadani, a professional footballer. He was convicted of assisting in moharebeh plus collusion with and membership of an illegal group. He was sentenced to 26 years in prison. One person was acquitted.

The footballer will serve 16 years in jail, with prison time based on the longest sentence given — in this case moharebeh. He received two five-year sentences for other charges.

Four other people were jailed on Sunday for allegedly calling on the public to participate in the months-long protests that have shaken the regime.

Updated: January 09, 2023, 12:13 PM
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