Human rights groups condemn Iran’s decision to execute three protesters

Amnesty International urges supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to revoke rulings

People stop their cars on a road in Tehran, Iran, on November 16, 2019, in protest against fuel price rises. Wana
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Human rights groups say Iran’s decision to uphold and schedule the execution of three protesters is unfair and should be repealed.

Iran's judiciary announced on Tuesday that a court had upheld death sentences for three people linked to deadly protests last November.

It is the first statement by Tehran on the trial of protesters Amirhossein Moradi, Mohammad Rajabi and Saeed Tamjidi.

The sentences were "confirmed by the Supreme Court after the defendants and their attorneys appealed", spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili told the judiciary's Mizan Online  website.

But reported discrepancies in the case and mistreatment of defendants while in detention is prompting human rights groups to call on Iranian authorities to repeal the sentences.

The executions are expected to be carried out in days.

Amnesty International urged Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to revoke the rulings.

“Iran’s Khamenei must quash the death sentences of protesters Amirhossein Moradi, Saeed Tamjidi and Mohammad Rajabi immediately,” Amnesty tweeted.

“Their trial was unfair and they said they were subjected to torture through beatings, electric shocks and being hung upside down.”

Human Rights Watch also called for an immediate repeal of the decision.

“Iran’s version of ‘accountability’ is apparently sentencing people involved in protests in unfair trials rather than investigating the overwhelming evidence of security forces’ excessive use of force and the hundreds of protesters who were shot dead,” wrote Tara Sepehri Far, HRW’s Iran researcher.

The defendants had only restricted access to lawyers and authorities tortured or abused them for coerced confessions, Ms Far said.

US President Donald Trump became highest official on Wednesday to condemn the move. He tweeted in both English and Farsi: "Three individuals were sentenced to death in Iran for participating in protests. The execution is expected momentarily. Executing these three people sends a terrible signal to the world and should not be done! #StopExecutionsInIran."

On social media, Iranians were using the hashtag “don’t execute” to protest against the decision.

In response to the social media commotion, authorities in Iran reportedly disrupted access to the internet on Tuesday evening.

An internet monitoring organisation confirmed the disruptions and measures to limit communications online in the country.

The three men were arrested last November during widespread protests in Iran.

A sharp rise in subsidised petrol prices led to four days of unrest in cities and towns across Iran, in which Amnesty said more than 300 people were killed in clashes with police and security forces.

In 2019, the rights group ranked Iran as the world’s second for the number of executions carried out.

It estimated that Iran executed at least 251 people that year.