Iran sentences 3 more to death in connection with protests

Tuesday, 10 January 2023 (03:01 IST)
Iran said on Monday that it had sentenced three  more people to death over charges of allegedly killing security forces during protests which have gripped the country for some four months.
The Islamic republic has condemned 17 people to death since nationwide protests broke out in September last year, after the death of 22-year-old Gina Mahsa Amini while in moral police custody. Four of those have already been executed, including two last weekend.
The death sentences and executions have garnered international condemnation, including from the German government and the Catholic pope.
What were the latest sentences about?
An Iranian court on Monday found the three men guilty of killing three members of the security forces in November, the Iranian judiciary's Mizan website reported.
They were charged with "waging war against God," as per the country's Islamic sharia law, and belonging to a "criminal group with the intention of disrupting the security in the country."
Two other men were sentenced to prison in the same case, including professional footballer Amir Nasr-Azadani.
The case of Nasr-Azadani, who was sentenced to 16 years, had raised international alarm, with the footballers' union FIFPRO raising the profile of his trial. Fears that he could face execution were particularly rampant.
A sixth defendant in the case was acquitted.
All the court rulings can be appealed.
German government condemnations
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz condemned on Monday the Iranian authorities' latest round of executions.
On Saturday, Iran executed by hanging Mohammad Karami and Mohammad Hosseini. They were convicted of killing Ruhollah Ajamian who was a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's volunteer Basij Force.
Scholz accused the Iranian authorities in a tweet of using the death penalty as "a means of repression." He called on the country to refrain from executing any more defendants and to release "those unjustly imprisoned" immediately.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also said on Monday that Iran's ambassador to Berlin had been summoned in protest at his country's crackdown on the demonstrations as well as the latest executions.
Baerbock said this was "to make unmistakably clear that the brutal repression, the oppression and the terrorizing of its own population as well as the most recent two executions will not remain without consequence."
The German foreign minister also said it was important for the European Union to stay united in its response to Iran.
The EU has already sanctioned the Iranian regime in response to its crackdown on the protesters.
DW also spoke to Social Democrat parliamentarian Martin Diedenhofen, who is sponsoring one Iranian sentenced to death as a result of the protests. He said it was "very important for the entire European Union to acto together against the Iranian regime." 
"Our aim is to use the joint measures to bring those responsible for the executions in Iran to justice. And we need further strengthening of the current sanctions. And I think what has also been said many times, what is very important is that we finally put the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on to the EU terror list. And in my opinion we have to do this right now and as soon as possible." Diedenhofen said.
More condemnation and sanctions
The Catholic Pope Francis also addressed Iran's use of the death sentence in his new year address on Monday.
"The death penalty cannot be employed for a purported state justice, since it does not constitute a deterrent nor render justice to victims, but only fuels the thirst for vengeance," Pope Francis said, referencing Iran in his speech for the first time.
The Canadian government also announced on Monday that it was sanctioning two more Iranian officials and three more Iranian entities, citing the continuing "systematic human rights violations" in the country.

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