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Protester Accused Of Killing Paramilitary Member Executed In Iran

Mostafa Salehi who was accused of shooting a paramilitary member has been executed in Iran.
Mostafa Salehi who was accused of shooting a paramilitary member has been executed in Iran.

The news agency of Iran's Judiciary on Wednesday announced that Mostafa Salehi, one of the protesters arrested after nation-wide December 2017-January 2018 protests, has been executed in Najafabad, Isfahan Province.

Mostafa Salehi was arrested following the protests in Kahriz-Sang in Isfahan Province and was accused of shooting Sajjad Shah-Sanaei, a member of the Basij militia, with a hunting gun.

Very little is known about Salehi's trial, court proceedings and even the name of the lawyer who defended him against the murder charge. The Judiciary statement announcing his execution does not reveal any details except the charges brought against him.

On Tuesday the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) quoted Salehi's family members as saying that they were worried he was put on death row as his contact with his family had ceased.

In December 2017 and early 2018 large-scale anti-government protests engulfed the country which many believed was a revolt against the entire ruling system. Unlike the post-election protests in 2009, these protests did not reflect factional fighting within the political groups inside the system.

Human rights observers have repeatedly said that the most fundamental rights of defendants including the right to legal representation are grossly ignored in the Islamic Judiciary. They also allege that many verdicts are based on forced confessions extracted through psychological and physical torture.

The Judiciary staunchly refutes such allegations and has repeatedly underlined that they will not "give in to such pressures".

Iran, after China, has the highest number of executions. Judges pass the death penalty on defendants on vague charges such as "acting against national security" after summary trials held behind closed doors.

In security-related cases, defendants' chosen lawyers are often not allowed to participate in the rial, leaving their role to court-appointed lawyers.

The news of the imminent execution of three young men for participating in November 2019 in July raised international concern and many Iranians joined a very successful online campaign to stop executions. The death sentences have been put on hold for the time being.

Currently there are serious concerns about the execution of five more protesters whose families rallied in front of the Justice Department of Isfahan on July 30 to protest.