Iranian court upholds death sentences of three protesters

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From right to left: Amirhossein Moradi, Mohammad Rajabi and Saeed Tamjidi have been sentenced to death in connection with acts of arson that took place during protests in November 2019. — Courtesy photo
From right to left: Amirhossein Moradi, Mohammad Rajabi and Saeed Tamjidi have been sentenced to death in connection with acts of arson that took place during protests in November 2019. — Courtesy photo

TEHRAN — Iran's judiciary said Tuesday that a court had upheld death sentences for three people linked to deadly protests last November sparked by a hike in petrol prices.

The sentences were "confirmed by the supreme court after the defendants and their attorneys appealed," spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said, quoted by the judiciary's Mizan Online website.

Esmaili did not name the defendants, but said two were arrested during an "armed robbery".

They had videos on their phones in which they set fire to banks and buses, Esmaili said.

“They filmed their criminal acts and sent them to some foreign news agencies,” he said.

“They were thugs who committed crimes during the riots,” added Esmaili.

Iran often describes anti-government protests in the country as “riots” and protesters as “thugs” and foreign-affiliated agents.

Reformist Shargh newspaper on Saturday named the three as Amirhossein Moradi, 26 and working at a cellphone retailer, Said Tamjidi, a 28-year-old student and Mohammad Rajabi, also 26.

The demonstrations erupted on Nov. 15 after authorities more than doubled fuel prices overnight, exacerbating economic hardships in the sanctions-hit country.

They rocked a handful of cities before spreading to at least 100 urban centers across the republic.

Gas stations were torched, police stations attacked and shops looted, before security forces stepped in amid a near-total internet blackout.

Esmaili noted that the final verdict could still change over "extraordinary proceedings", according to the video released by state TV.

He pointed to a legal clause that could trigger a retrial if deemed necessary by the chief justice.

London-based rights group Amnesty International has put the number of deaths in the protests at 304, and a group of independent UN rights experts said in December that 400 including at least 12 children could have been killed, based on unconfirmed reports.

The United States has claimed that more than 1,000 were killed in the violence. — Agencies


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