Iranians protest in front of Karaj prison as more executions loom

Protesters gathered in front of a prison in Karaj to stop the execution of two men linked to Iran’s demonstrations.

Iran protests
Amnesty International has said more than two dozen people could be at risk of execution in cases related to the protests [File: Christian Mang/Reuters]

Tehran, Iran – Dozens of people have demonstrated in front of a prison in the Iranian city of Karaj amid reports that two more men could soon be executed in cases linked with Iran’s ongoing protests.

Multiple videos posted online showed a crowd gathered in the early hours of Monday in front of the Rajaei-Shahr Prison in Karaj near Tehran in an effort to prevent the executions of 22-year-old Mohammad Ghobadlou and 19-year-old Mohammad Boroughani.

The families of the two men were also among the crowd. “My child is sick, he has a medical file, but they don’t want to accept,” Ghobadlou’s mother can be seen shouting in one of the videos, which was verified by Al Jazeera.

Ghobadlou was sentenced to death for allegedly running over several members of the security forces with his car and killing one. In court, Ghobadlou cited a history of mental illness, but a state psychologist testified that he was aware of his actions.

Ghobadlou’s mother could be heard in one of the videos saying that the member of the security forces who died had not been killed by her son.

Boroughani was convicted of “moharebeh”, or “waging war against God”, for allegedly using a knife to kill a member of the security forces.

Both men have had their sentences confirmed by the Supreme Court and were reportedly moved to solitary confinement, prompting concerns by their families that they would be executed imminently. The judiciary has not commented on when the executions would be carried out.

Amir Raesian, Ghobadlou’s lawyer, said in a tweet early on Monday that he had filed another appeal, and claimed that the Supreme Court was obliged by law to halt the execution sentence pending review.

Iran has so far executed four men in cases linked with the protests, which began in mid-September following the death of Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by the country’s morality police for alleged non-compliance with a mandatory dress code for women.

Two men were hanged on Saturday, and two other executions were carried out in December, one of them publicly in Mashhad.

Amnesty International, the United States and the European Union have condemned the executions and said they came after “sham trials”, something the Iranian judiciary has rejected.

Amnesty International has said more than two dozen people could be at risk of execution in cases related to the protests.

Three more men received preliminary execution sentences, the official news outlet of the Iranian judiciary announced on Monday.

Saleh Mirhashemi, Majid Kazemi and Saeid Yaghoubi were sentenced to death for moharebeh after they allegedly used weapons to kill three members of the security forces in Isfahan on November 16.

Professional footballer Amir Nasr Azadani also received a total of 26 years in prison in the same case, and another man received a sentence of two years in prison.

A sixth arrested suspect was acquitted, according to the judiciary, which said the sentences can be appealed at the Supreme Court.

Iranians, including a number of celebrities, have condemned the executions. The Iranian national football team’s star striker Mehdi Taremi on Sunday tweeted that “justice won’t be served through the noose” and called for a stop to the executions.

Sporadic demonstrations also took place in Iran on Sunday to mark the third anniversary of the downing of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752, which was hit by Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) missiles over Tehran in 2020 in an incident the authorities said was the result of “human error”.

Videos online showed protests in several cities to mark the occasion. The families of the victims on board the flight also organised demonstrations outside Iran, with a rally in Toronto attended by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Source: Al Jazeera