Iranian protester dies in jail after avoiding death sentence

Javad Rouhi was arrested last year during demonstrations over the death of Mahsa Amini

Javad Rouhi fell ill while awaiting resentencing and was taken to a hospital, where he died. Tabnak
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An Iranian man has died in jail after his death sentence for taking part in last year's nationwide protests was overturned by the Supreme Court, Iran's judiciary said on Thursday.

Javad Rouhi, 35, fell ill while awaiting resentencing and was taken to a hospital in the coastal city of Noshahr, about 150km north of Tehran.

"Javad Rouhi was transferred to Shahid Beheshti Hospital in the city early on Thursday after suffering a seizure while in prison," the judiciary's Mizan Online news website reported.

"Unfortunately, he died despite the actions of medical staff and a legal case has been filed to follow up on the reason for his death."

Iranian authorities accused Mr Rouhi of burning a Quran, an offence that carries the death penalty, during protests in Noshahr following the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini.

Activists and rights organisations have accused Iranian authorities of causing his death.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps flogged and used stun guns on Mr Rouhi, exposed him to freezing temperatures and put guns to his head to force him to confess, Amnesty International said.

Mr Rouhi was sentenced to death on the charge of "corruption on Earth" in Noshahr, in the northern province of Mazandaran.

He was accused of "leading a group of rioters", "inciting people to create insecurity", and "apostasy by desecration of the Quran by burning it", Mizan said.

Mr Rouhi, who was 31 at the time, was also found guilty of "setting fire to and destroying property in a way that causes severe disruption to the country's public order and security", it said.

Nationwide protests began in September 2022 after Ms Amini died following her arrest for allegedly wearing the hijab incorrectly.

More than 500 people were killed and 22,000 arrested in a crackdown on the demonstrations. The unrest marked one of the biggest challenges to Iran’s authorities since the 1979 revolution.

Tehran has detained activists and imposed strict rules as the anniversary of Ms Amini’s death approaches.

Updated: September 01, 2023, 8:29 AM