Iran issues 2nd death sentence over protests
Iran has been rocked by sweeping protests over death of young woman in police custody
By Syed Zafar Mehdi
TEHRAN (AA) -
A second protester has been sentenced to death in Iran for engaging in "street warfare" amid months-long protests, according to the country's judiciary.
A statement cited by Mizan News Agency, affiliated with Iran's judiciary, said the protester, who has not been named, engaged in "warfare on the streets by drawing a cold weapon in a way that causes terror".
It further said the defendant "terrorized people in the streets with a cold weapon, set a citizen's motorcycle on fire, and attacked and injured a person with a knife".
The verdict is preliminary and can be challenged in the appeals court, the judiciary noted.
So far two people have been sentenced to death as trials have commenced in connection with sweeping protests triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, in the custody of Iran's morality police in September.
On Sunday, Iran's judiciary issued the first death sentence against a protester in connection with the anti-government protests in the country.
The protester was accused of "setting fire to a government building" and "disturbing public order and peace, assembly and collusion to commit crimes against national security, war and corruption in the land".
Five other defendants were given sentences ranging between 5 and 10 years on charges of "assembly and collusion to commit crimes against national security and disruption of public order and peace", the judiciary said.
Iranian authorities have not come out with the official death toll in the countrywide protests yet, but independent watchdogs have put the toll at more than 250 people, including civilians and policemen.
Javaid Rehman, the special UN rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, last week said as many as 14,000 people have been arrested since September.
Authorities in Iran have rejected the claim as well as reports doing rounds on social media about thousands of people facing execution.
The claim that 15,000 people have been sentenced to death over protests was shared by many world leaders and activists, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who later deleted the tweet.
The two death sentences came days after Iran's judiciary chief Mohseni Ejei called for expediting the cases related to the protests.
The US and European Union have in recent weeks imposed a slew of sanctions on Iranian officials and entities over what they call a "brutal crackdown on protests".
On Monday, EU foreign ministers approved a fresh package of sanctions against Iran, targeting 29 individuals and 3 entities for their role in the death of Amini.
"The EU strongly condemns the unacceptable violent crackdown of protesters. We stand with the Iranian people and support their right to protest peacefully and voice their demands and views freely," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani, for his part, decried the sanctions, terming the action "illegal and interventionist".