AFP: An Iranian military court has sentenced two men to death in connection with the “murders” of at least three anti-government protesters in a notorious jail, state news agency IRNA said on Wednesday.
By Hiedeh Farmani
TEHRAN (AFP) — An Iranian military court has sentenced two men to death in connection with the “murders” of at least three anti-government protesters in a notorious jail, state news agency IRNA said on Wednesday.
The death sentences were the first involving those accused of abusing protesters who opposed the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June last year.
“Two defendants were sentenced to qisas (death penalty), nine others were sentenced to jail and lashes, and one was acquitted,” IRNA reported, quoting a court statement.
It said the two, who under Iranian law have 20 days to appeal, were found guilty of “inflicting intentional abuse leading to the murder of Mohammad Kamrani, Amir Javadi-far and Mohsen Ruholamini” in Kahrizak jail.
Iran’s judiciary said at the start of the trial in March that 11 policemen and one civilian were facing charges over the deaths last summer in the notorious Kahrizak jail, south of Tehran.
The court statement did not specify whether the civilian was among the two condemned to death.
The case has caused major embarrassment to the Islamic republic, which acknowledged, after months of denial, that the deaths at the detention centre were the result of injuries inflicted in Kahrizak.
The centre was shut down last July at the order of Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei following reports of abuse.
In January, a parliamentary probe found Tehran’s feared former prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi responsible for sending post-election protesters to Kahrizak last year and called for his punishment.
Among the three young men who died of abuse in Kahrizak was Ruholamini, 25, the son of a well-known conservative politician. They were arrested in street protests against Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election.
A fourth protester was also reportedly feared dead after being jailed in Kahrizak, but this has not been officially confirmed.
The court statement said 33 people were also being prosecuted over involvement in separate raids on Tehran dormitories, where they allegedly beat up students, and on an uptown residential apartment complex after last year’s election.
The death sentences were the first verdicts against those involved in abuses inflicted on protesters who opposed the re-election of Ahmadinejad.
Iranian authorities had cracked down heavily on the protesters and dozens were killed in clashes as demonstrations spread across Tehran after Ahmadinejad’s victory, which the opposition charged was a result of massive vote rigging.
The protests triggered one of the worst political crises in the history of the Islamic republic, bitterly dividing its clerical elite and political factions.
While hundreds of protesters were also wounded in clashes with security forces, thousands were arrested, including top reformists, political activists and journalists.
Of those arrested, dozens have been put on trials and sentenced to varying sentences. Ten protesters have even been sentenced to death in verdicts severely criticised by international human rights groups.
Since the election dispute erupted, Iran has also hanged seven people on security charges unrelated to the poll crisis but seen as a warning to the opposition movement.