ARTICLE 19 is horrified by the arbitrary execution of two young men, Mohammad Mehdi Karrami and Seyed Mohammad Hosseini, in connection with nationwide protests in Iran. Authorities executed both men on the morning of 7 January after sentencing them to death in a sham fast-tracked trial that bore no resemblance to meaningful judicial proceedings and was void of even the most basic and fundamental due process and judicial guarantees. The court relied on ‘confessions’ obtained under torture and other ill-treatment to convict the men, who were denied of the right to access a lawyer. Dozens of others remain at risk of execution in connection with the nationwide protests, including Mohammad Ghobadlou and Mohammad Broghani, who are at imminent risk of facing the death penalty.
‘The world has again woken to the horrors of more state-sanctioned killings by the authorities of the Islamic Republic, who have been committing a systematic attack on people’s human rights, including their right to life, in a bid to cling to power at any cost,’ said Saloua Ghazouani, ARTICLE 19’s Director for Middle East and North Africa.
‘These revenge killings once again lay bare the sheer brutality of Iran’s “justice system” that instead of delivering justice, has for decades acted as the state’s arm of repression by providing a pretext of legality for killings, torture and other gross violations of human rights and crimes under international law. All officials involved in these cases, including intelligence agents, prosecutorial authorities and judges, must be held accountable including through imposition of targeted sanctions as well as criminal investigations under the principle of universal jurisdiction,’ Saloua Ghazouani continued.
Following the executions, a lawyer independently appointed by the family of Mohamamd Mehdi Karami stated that the authorities carried out his execution without even allowing his family a final visit with their son. Authorities barred Mohammad Mehdi Karami’s lawyer from meeting his client and accessing the case file. In protest, Mohammad Ali Karami had started a ‘dry hunger’ strike, refusing to take food and liquids three days prior to his execution.
According to a lawyer, who had been able to take on Seyed Mohammad Hosseini’s legal representation after his death sentence was issued, authorties subjected Mohammad Hosseini to torture and other ill-treatment to extract ‘confessions’ by blindfolding him and cuffing his hands and legs and subjecting him to beatings, including by kicking him in the head, resulting in him losing consciousness, beating the soles of his feet with an iron rod, and subjecting his body parts to electric shocks.
On 5 December 2022, a Revolutionary Court in Alborz province sentenced young protester Mohammad Mehdi Karami, Seyed Mohammad Hosseini and three others to death after convicting them of ‘corruption on earth’ in connection with the fatal assault of a Basij agent during protests earlier, on 3 November. The sentences were issued less than a week after the beginning of a fast-tracked sham group trial on 30 November 2022. On 3 January 2023, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentences against Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Seyed Mohammad Hosseini. The death sentences against three other men, Hamid Ghare-Hasanlou, Reza Aria and Hossein Mohammadi, were overturned by the Supreme Court and the cases have been referred back to a Revolutionary Court of first instance. ARTICLE 19 warns that they remain at grave risk of being sentenced to death again and executed.