Iran’s Supreme Court confirmed the death sentence and 16 years of imprisonment for Mohammad Khezrnejad, a Sunni cleric and outspoken critic of the government.

The 45-year-old cleric from Bukan in West Azarbaijan Province was arrested in November 2022 amid the nationwide protests for his participation in a memorial service for Asad Rahimi, a victim of the nationwide uprising, and was charged with “corruption on earth” by the Revolutionary Court.

The Kurdistan Human Rights Network reported that the sentence was upheld by Branch 41 of the Supreme Court under Judge Ali Razini. The initial trial was criticized for its lack of due process, conducted over four brief sessions without legal representation for Khezrnejad, and based on reports without considering his defense.

Despite his advocacy for religious tolerance and opposition to extremism, Khazranejad was accused of collaborating with extremist groups as the regime continues its oppression of the Sunni minority.

His arrest and subsequent sentencing are part of a broader pattern of repression following the Woman, Life, Freedom uprising, during which Khezrnejad criticized the government’s harsh responses to protests. Reports indicate he was subjected to torture and coerced into making false confessions while detained.

More than 240 Kurdish Sunni clerics and 14 religious reformists have called for his release, appealing to the United Nations to intervene.

A report by Amnesty International highlights that Iran spearheaded an increase in recorded executions in 2023, with at least 853 individuals officially executed.

Source » iranintl