At least 100 Iranians arrested over more than 100 days of nationwide protests face charges punishable by death, Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR) has said.

Protests have gripped Iran since September after an Iranian-Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, died in custody following her arrest in Tehran for an alleged breach of the country’s strict dress code for women.

Earlier this month, Iran executed two men in connection with the protests, an escalation in the authorities’ crackdown that activists say is meant to instil public fear.

In a report released on Tuesday, IHR identified 100 detainees facing potential capital punishment, including at least 11 already sentenced to death. Five detainees on the IHR list are women.

The report said many of them had limited access to legal representation.

“By issuing death sentences and executing some of them, [the authorities] want to make people go home,” said IHR director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam.

“It has some effect … [but] what we’ve observed in general is more anger against the authorities. Their strategy of spreading fear through executions has failed.”

In an updated death toll issued on Tuesday, IHR said 476 protesters had been killed since the demonstrations began. Iran’s top security body in early December gave a toll of more than 200 people killed, including security officers.

At least 14,000 people had been arrested since the nationwide unrest began, the UN said in November.

Majidreza Rahnavard, 23, was hanged in public from a crane on 12 December after being sentenced by a court in Mashhad for killing two members of the security forces with a knife.

Four days earlier, Mohsen Shekari, also 23, had been executed for wounding a member of the security forces.

The judiciary has said that nine others have been handed death sentences over the protests, of whom two have been allowed retrials.

The father of death row inmate Mohammad Ghodablou has issued a plea on social media calling for his son’s release, saying “he made a big mistake”.

“Mohammad has so far had no criminal record,” the father said in a video circulated this week, adding that he suffered from a mental disorder.

Ghodablou, 22, was charged in Tehran with “corruption on earth” for “attacking police with a car, which resulted in the death of one officer and the injury of five others”.

The judiciary’s Mizan Online news website reported on Monday that Ghodablou had undergone psychiatric evaluation that concluded he “was aware of the nature of his crime”.

The US-based Human Rights Activists News Agency noted in a report issued on Monday that Iran had seen an 88% rise in executions in 2022 compared with 2021 year and an 8% rise in death sentences, the vast majority of them for murder or drug offences.

According to Amnesty International, Iran is second only to China in its use of the death penalty, with at least 314 people executed in 2021.

Source » theguardian