Reacting to more than 11 million tweets calling for an end to executions in Iran, the Islamic Republic Judiciary spokesman has said, "We are not obliged to listen to the counter-revolutionaries, aggressive opposition movements and the media empire."
Furthermore, Gholam Hossein Esmaeili dismissed the record-breaking and unprecedented online campaign as “produced by robots."
The hashtag, "No to Death Penalty," launched July 14 was initially used to stop the execution of three young men who were arrested during last November’s protests in Iran. But the hashtag quickly turned into a call to abolish capital punishment.
Within a few days, the hashtag was retweeted by more than eleven million times and seen by over eight billion globally.
Speaking to the monopolized state-run TV Monday evening, Esmaeili claimed that some people "unknowingly" joined the online campaign, without being aware of its nature.
A day after the onset of the "Do Not Execute" campaign joined by numerous officials worldwide, the attorneys of the three young defendants announced that the Islamic Republic Judiciary had agreed with their request for a retrial.
Confirming the attorneys' announcement, Esmaeili reminded on Monday, "The Supreme Court would 'consider' the request but since late March 85% of petitions for retrial were rejected."
The trio sentenced to death are in their twenties and identified as Mohammad Rajabi, Amirhossein Moradi, and Saeed Tamjidi.
They were arrested for taking part in the nationwide protests in November 2019, triggered by economic hardship and anti-regime sentiments.