Iran Executes Another “Women, Life, Freedom” Protester

Just weeks after two Iranian women were given harsh sentences for refusing to follow Iran’s strict and mandatory hijab law, another protester was put to death for allegedly killing a policeman during a protest near Tehran in 2022 amidst the massive demonstrations against the regime after the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of Iran’s morality police. 

This also comes after a motor courier from northern Iran was sentenced to death in December last year for allegedly insulting Islam through his online activities.

23-year-old Mohammad Ghobadlou was executed on January 23rd after he was convicted of murder and "corruption on Earth.” Iranian authorities accused him of running over a police officer with his car and injuring five others during nationwide protests against Iran’s clerical establishment in 2022. 

The death sentence of Mohammad Ghobadlou… was carried out this morning after 487 days of legal proceedings,” Mizan news agency, a media outlet affiliated with the Iranian judiciary, said regarding the case. 

Ghobadlou is the ninth person to be executed for their involvement in the “Women, Life, Freedom” protests against Iran’s theocratic regime, which began after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was arrested and died under custody in September 2022 for allegedly wearing her hijab “improperly.

At least 529 people were killed, and thousands of others were detained in the demonstrations that followed. At least four others are believed to have been sentenced to death, and 15 others are at risk of being handed the death penalty.

Ghobadlou was sentenced to death in November 2022 after he was convicted of “corruption on Earth,” a capital offense in Iran, for attacking the police in Tehran with a car, killing one officer and injuring five others, according to Mizan. 

A report on Iranian state television stated that Ghobadlou confessed to his crimes and he had access to a lawyer. However, human rights groups such as Amnesty International disputed this claim and said that he was denied access to a lawyer by investigators following his arrest. 

Amnesty International also said authorities repeatedly beat Ghobadlou and that he was not given his medication for bipolar disorder to force his "confession.” He was also denied the right to a lawyer of his choice again at his trial before Iran’s Revolutionary Court, which consisted of two brief sessions in October and November 2022. At his two Criminal Court trial sessions in December, the lawyer he appointed was denied access to material evidence.

Various human rights groups condemned Ghobadlou’s execution, which the Iranian Supreme Court upheld despite his appeal. Last year, Amnesty International said that he received two death sentences after "grossly unfair sham trials marred by torture-tainted 'confessions' and failure to order rigorous mental health assessments despite his mental disability.

The director of the Norway-based group Iran Human Rights, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, denounced Ghobadlou’s execution, describing it as "an extrajudicial killing.

"The Islamic Republic's leader Ali Khamenei and his judiciary must be held accountable for this crime," Mahmood wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Amir Raesian, Ghobadlou’s lawyer, wrote on X on January 22nd that the execution is illegal and amounts to "murder.” He also argued that the Iranian Supreme Court struck down Ghobadlou’s death sentence last July because of his client’s mental health condition.

The Mizan news agency refuted Raesian’s claims, insisting that the Iranian Supreme Court rejected such appeals twice. According to a report by the Mehr news agency in July, the Iranian Supreme Court granted him a stay of execution in February last year and even referred his case to a new jurisdiction to deal with issues relating to his mental health.

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