Iran’s execution on Tuesday of a ninth young man, Mohammad Ghobadlou, for the 2022 protests has angered Iranians and rights groups, who call it “state-murder”.
“Mohammad Ghobadlu’s execution is an extrajudicial killing according to international law and the Islamic Republic’s own laws,” Mahmoud Amiry-Moghaddam, director of the Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR NGO) said about the execution.
While demanding Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and its judiciary to be held accountable for the execution, Amiry-Moghaddam urged the international community and countries with diplomatic relations with Iran to condemn the hanging in the strongest terms and “stop further executions by raising the political cost of executions through effective action.”
Center for Human Rights in Iran, another Iranian rights organization which is based in New York, also called Ghobadlou’s execution a state-sanctioned murder and urged the fact-finding mission mandated by the United nations over Iran’s human rights violations to investigate its dimensions.
“The head of the judiciary must stop the arbitrary execution of Mohamed Ghobadlou, suddenly and unlawfully scheduled for tomorrow. The case of this young man with a disability arrested in connection with the 2022 protests has been marred by torture and secretive proceedings,” Amnesty International tweeted hours before the execution.
Despite Ghobadlu’s sentence being overturned by Iran’s Supreme Court last year, his execution has pushed many to call for a total rejection of the clerical regime. Kaveh Shahrooz, a lawyer and activist tweeted, “No reforms. No deals. No negotiations. Only revolution. Death to the Islamic Republic.”
Others went further, calling for revenge against the rulers once there is a regime change. One person tweeted an image resembling Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei hanging from the rope of a crane.
On Tuesday, a Kurdish political prisoner, Farhad Salimi, was also hanged at Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj after fourteen years of imprisonment without being allowed a last meeting with his family.
The Islamic Republic has executed at least 90 people From December 21 to January 20 for various reasons.
A man holding a small banner on which he describes Ghobadlou’s execution as “Khamenei’s latest crime” protesting outside the bazaar of Tehran.
The US Special Envoy for Iran “strongly” condemned the Islamic Republic’s “unjust execution” of Ghobadlou and its “continued use of sham trials and the death penalty against those who participated in the Woman, Life, Freedom protests.” “We express our condolences to Mohammad’s family. Mohammad Ghobadlou and all those who have died at the hands of Iran’s judiciary shall not be fogotten,” he said.
Ghobadlou who had struggled with serious mental health issues including bipolar disorder for several years was accused of driving into a group of anti-riot police in Parand in the south of the capital Tehran during the 2022 protests, resulting in an officer’s death.
Ghobadlou and his defense attorney, Amir Raisian, who was not allowed to represent him in court, consistently denied the charges, providing evidence to demonstrate his innocence.
Ghobadlou was sentenced to death for “waging war against God” by Abolghasem Salavati, a notorious judge of revolutionary courts who has meted out numerous death sentences on dissidents and other citizens including those found guilty of financial crimes.
Ghobadlou’s sentence was later annulled by the Supreme Court which ordered a branch of Tehran Criminal Court to retry the case. His execution despite the Supreme Court’s decision was unprecedented.
Mizan, the news agency of the judiciary, claimed after Ghobadlou’s execution said that his death sentence had been confirmed by the court appointed by the Supreme Court. Raisian says no new ruling had been conveyed to Mohammad and his family and has challenged the judiciary to present evidence of a new ruling.
“He was murdered by the Islamic regime in Iran even though he was innocent. He was wrongly convicted in a show trial,” Clara Anne Bünger, a member of the German Parliament who had accepted Ghobadlou’s political sponsorship tweeted. She had earlier urged the international community to put pressure on Iran to stop the execution of dissidents and repression of the Iranian youth.
“These actions of the Islamic Republic are only meant to suppress the progressive Woman, Life, Freedom movement,” she wrote.
In a tweet Tuesday, US-based activist Masih Alinejad urged European countries to expel an Islamic Republic diplomat, add 10 Revolutionary Guards officials to the EU sanctions list, and put limitations on trade with Iran for every prisoner executed.
“The West must send a strong message to the Islamic regime. This is how you save lives. This is how you support democracy and the struggle of people against autocracy,” she wrote.