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Concern Growing Over Possible Execution Of Five Young Protesters In Iran

Five young Iranian men sentenced to death in Isfahan for participating in 2019 protests.
Five young Iranian men sentenced to death in Isfahan for participating in 2019 protests.

The Islamic Republic authorities have cut off all contact between five young prisoners on death row and their families; human rights activists told Radio Farda. "The relatives are concerned over the fate of their loved ones", they said.

The five were arrested in Isfahan, central Iran, for participating in widespread anti-Islamic Republic protests in late 2017, early 2018.

Speaking to Radio Farda, the Director of the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights Organization (IHRO), Mahmoud Amiry Moqaddam said, "We have received reports that contact between the five prisoners and their families has been cut off. The prison and judicial officials have not responded to the relatives' concerns, yet."

According to Mr. Amiry-Moqaddam, the families of the inmates on death row have assembled outside Isfahan's central prison.

Families of protesters sentenced to death and supporters rallied in front of the Justice Department.

The news about the possible executions have led to a storm of social media protests, with hashtags against the death penalty.

Earlier, the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) had reported that Mohammad Bastami, Hadi Keyani (Kiani), Abbas Mohammadi, Majid Nazari Kondori, and Mehdi Salehi- Qaleh Shahrokhi, received "two death sentences" each for "waging war against God" and "taking up arms against the state."

On June 26, the Chief-Justice of Isfahan had announced that the death penalty for eight inmates arrested in the province during late 2017, early 2018 protest rallies had been upheld.

However, Isfahan's judiciary's public relations office said in a statement four days ago that the verdicts were not finalized yet.

Protesters against death penalty for five young men in Isfahan.

The statement maintained that the comments attributed to Isfahan's Chief-Justice on social media were baseless, fabricated by some "hostile media," and intended to create a deception.

"So far, no confirmation has been received from the Supreme Judicial Authority in this regard," the statement said.

Iran executed about 251 people last year, according to Amnesty International. In recent weeks, it has issued a series of death sentences, including in the case of a controversial Paris-based journalist, Ruhollah Zam. Iran also recently executed two Kurdish men in connection with an armed attack in 2010 and a man for repeatedly drinking alcohol and another who was convicted of spying for the CIA.