Iran: Stop sentencing peaceful protesters to death, UN experts urge

Sixteen UN-appointed independent human rights experts encouraged Iranian authorities on Friday to stop indicting people with charges punishable by death for participating in peaceful demonstrations.

People protest in London's Trafalgar Square to support equality, women and human rights in Iran. [Unsplash | Neil Webb ]

“We urge Iranian authorities to stop using the death penalty as a tool to squash protests and reiterate our call to immediately release all protesters who have been arbitrarily deprived of their liberty for the sole reason of exercising their legitimate rights to freedom of opinion and expression, association and peaceful assembly and for their actions to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms through peaceful means”, they said in a statement.

Track record

In Tehran province, eight people were charged by the Islamic Revolution Court on 29 October with crimes carrying the death penalty, namely “waging war against God” or “moharebeh” and “corruption on earth”.

Two days later, the Tehran prosecutor announced that some 1,000 indictments had been issued in connection with recent “riots” in the province and that public trials were scheduled for a number of people “in the coming days”.

In blatant violation of the separation of powers, on 6 November, 227 members of Parliament called on the judiciary to act decisively against those arrested during the protests and to carry out the death penalty punishments.

“With the continuous repression of protests, many more indictments on charges carrying the death penalty and death sentences might soon be issued, and we fear that women and girls, who have been at the forefront of protests, and especially women human rights defenders, who have been arrested and jailed for demanding the end of systemic and systematic discriminatory laws, policies and practices might be particularly targeted”, they warned.

Rising suppression

On 13 September, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, was arrested by Iran’s morality police for allegedly failing to comply with the State’s strict rules on women’s dress, by wearing what authorities said was “an improper hijab”. She died in police custody.