Iranian protester Majidreza Rahnavard was executed by Iranian officials early Monday morning after being sentenced to death for allegedly attacking security forces in Mashhad, according to Iranian state media. Iranian opposition activists said that Rahnavard was sentenced in a sham trial.
Rahnavard had been sentenced to death on charges that he had stabbed and killed two members of the Iranian security forces and injured four others amid protests that swept the country in recent months.
Iranian state media claimed that Rahnavard confessed to the charges, although many political prisoners have been forced by Iranian officials to film staged confessions under duress. Rahnavard was reportedly not given access to a lawyer and was tortured, appearing in court with injuries, according to opposition sources.
According to the 1500tasvir opposition account, Rahnavard’s mother visited him recently and there was no talk of the execution when she was there and she left hopeful that her son wouldn’t be executed. On Monday morning, Rahnavard’s family was called by Iranian officials and told that he had been executed and buried.
Rahnavard was hanged in public in Mashhad on Monday morning, with Iranian state media publishing photos of the hanging. According to 1500tasvir, he was buried shortly afterward in the Behesht-e-Reza Cemetery in Mashhad. Video from the scene of his grave shared by Radio Farda showed flowers placed on the grave and women chanting “Martyr of the country Majidreza Rahnavard.”
After the execution, Chief Justice of Khorasan Gholam Ali Sadeghi thanked Iranian security forces and judicial officials for “performing their legal duties in the shortest possible time.” Sadeghi added that the execution was conducted to “respond to the public demands in order to establish order and security and deal with rioters and lawbreakers.”
Iranian activist Masih Alinejad expressed outrage at the execution, tweeting "[the] Iranian regime gives the finger to world opinion and holds a public execution of a second protester in the city of Mashhad. #MajidrezaRahnavard’s crime was protesting the murder of #MahsaAmini. The regime’s method on dealing with protests is execution. EU recall your ambassadors."
Iranian regime gives the finger to world opinion and holds a public execution of a second protester in the city of Mashhad. #MajidrezaRahnavard’s crime was protesting the murder of #MahsaAmini. The regime’s method on dealing with protests is execution. EU recall your ambassadors. pic.twitter.com/AYUgdl2B4r— Masih Alinejad ️ (@AlinejadMasih) December 12, 2022
Saeed Afkari, the brother of Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari, who was executed for protesting in 2020, expressed solidarity with Rahnavard’s family and the families of other protesters sentenced to death on Monday, stressing “we people only have each other.”
“We know you'll grab for any way you can imagine that might save your loved ones. But the government is trying to force you to be silent and kill your loved ones with the knowledge of this matter and threats,” tweeted Afkari, asking these families to contact him. “Neither the judge nor the occupying lawyer, nor the reformists and their media are thinking about saving your loved ones.”
Execution comes just days after first Iranian protester executed
The execution comes just days after Iranian protester Mohsen Shekari was executed by Iranian officials, the first protester from the recent wave of protests executed by the Islamic Republic.
At least 10 other people have been sentenced to death amid the ongoing protests sweeping Iran, according to the Center for Human Rights in Iran. Many others are facing charges that could carry the death penalty.
One protester named Mahan Sadrat is sitting on death row and opposition activists have expressed concerns that he could be executed soon as well, as a 48-hour suspension of his sentence ends on Monday night.
Sadrat was charged with “causing insecurity and spreading terror in society by pulling out a cold weapon (knife)” during protests in Tehran, according to Iran International. Sadrat’s lawyer has stressed that he was not carrying a knife at the time.