Iran sentences two ISIS members to death for shrine attack that killed 15

Gunman opened fire on worshippers at Shah Cheragh shrine in Shiraz

Mourners carry coffins of the Shiraz shrine attack victims to their burial. Reuters
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Two confessed ISIS members who were found guilty of organising an attack on a Shiite shrine in Iran last year have been sentenced to death, Iran’s state-linked IRNA news outlet said on Sunday.

On October 26, a gunman entered the Shah Cheragh shrine in Shiraz and killed 15 worshippers.

Fars Province judiciary head Kazem Mousavi said the two men were found guilty of charges including “spreading corruption on Earth” and acting against national security, IRNA reported, adding that the sentences can be appealed.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned the attack, saying he hoped Iran would “bring to justice the perpetrators of this crime against civilians exercising their right to practice their religion”.

The two men sentenced to death said during their trial that they had been in contact with ISIS in Afghanistan and helped to organise the attack, Iranian media reported.

The gunman, identified as a citizen of Tajikistan, died in a hospital from injuries sustained during the attack.

At least 1,000 Tajiks are thought to have joined ISIS, according to a 2020 study by Central Asian think tank, OSCE Academy, based in Kyrgyzstan.

Last month, Tajikistan’s Supreme Court sentenced Parviz Saidrahmonov, an ISIS recruiter, to life in jail. He was linked to terrorist attacks in Russia, Sweden and Tajikistan and was thought to have recruited about 200 people to join the terrorist group.

In Iran, three other men received jail sentences ranging from five to 25 years in the trial, Mr Mousavi said, adding that several other “Daesh (ISIS) suspects linked to this case” were awaiting trial.

ISIS, which once posed a security threat across the Middle East, has claimed acts of violence in Iran, including deadly twin attacks in 2017 against Parliament and the tomb of the Islamic Republic's founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Updated: March 19, 2023, 11:49 AM