Iran supreme court upholds death sentence for three protesters: Human rights agency

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Iran’s highest judicial authority upheld the death sentences of three Iranian protesters arrested during the country’s anti-government protests last November, the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) said on Wednesday.

Protests broke out across Iran last November after the government introduced gasoline rationing and price hikes. Thousands were arrested and about 1,500 Iranians were killed by security forces, according to Reuters.

The three protesters sentenced to death were charged in February on charges of “cooperating in vandalism and arson with an intent to act against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” HRANA, a news site run by Iranian human rights advocates in exile, had reported. They are Amirhossein Moradi, Saeed Tamjidi and Mohammad Rajabi.

The Supreme Court of Iran, the country’s highest judicial authority, has upheld the death sentences that were issued by the Tehran Revolutionary Court in February, HRANA said citing an unnamed lawyer.

The trial of the three protesters was presided over by judge Abolghassem Salavati, whom the US imposed sanctions on last December, accusing him of having punished Iranian citizens and dual nationals for exercising their freedoms of speech and assembly.

Moradi told judge Salavati during the court hearing on several occasions that he was forced to confess under “pressure, threats and torture,” according to HRANA.

Tamjidi and Rajabi also said they were beaten and tortured, as well as pressured to confess to having links to the opposition group Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), said HRANA.

Iranians with links to the MEK face serious charges and receive heavy sentences in Iran.

Fearing arrest after Moradi was arrested, Tamjidi and Rajabi fled to Turkey seeking asylum but were extradited to Iran alongside 30 other Iranians last December days after a visit by President Hassan Rouhani to Ankara, HRANA said.

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