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Iran issues first death sentence linked to anti-hijab protests, 60 days after Mahsa Amini was killed

Amrutha Pagad
Amrutha PagadNov 15, 2022 | 09:51

Iran issues first death sentence linked to anti-hijab protests, 60 days after Mahsa Amini was killed

Protesters burn hijab in the streets of Tehran. Photo: AFP

The anti-hijab protests in Iran are taking the shape of a nationwide movement. So much so that the Iranian regime, which wants the world to see the protests as nothing but a small agitation, has issued its first death sentence linked to the anti-hijab protests. 

What: Death penalty has been awarded to an unidentified protester for allegedly setting ablaze a government building. 

  • The decision follows a parliament vote of 272 out of 270 lawmakers in Iran to implement execution for serious crimes against the state.
  • Fears are mounting that a young Kurdish rapper in Iran, Saman Yasin, arrested and charged with waging war against God for supporting the protests, could also face the death penalty.
  • Iran's judiciary chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, last week, warned that death penalties would be given to "key perpetrators" to deter others from protesting. 
  • "Rioters" can be charged with "moharebeh" (enmity against God), "efsad fil-arz" (corruption on Earth) and "baghy" (armed rebellion), which carry death sentences under the country's Sharia law.

Death penalty in Iran: Iran is known for carrying out the most number of executions only after China. 

  • In 2021 alone, Amnesty International estimated that the hardline Iranian regime executed some 314 people.
  • While death sentences are issued for political prisoners in Iran, they can be commuted to life imprisonment at times. 

The protests in Iran: Iran has been rocked by nearly 2-month long ongoing nationwide anti-hijab protests that sparked after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of the moral police. 

  • Amini was arrested by the so-called morality police in Iran for wearing her headscarf "inappropriately". 
  • She died shortly after her arrest in police custody. Protesters accuse the morality police of torturing and beating Amini to death, while Iran has denied the claims. 
A protester holds up a picture of Mahsa Amini. Photo: AFP
  • Apart from the state-sanctioned death penalty, over 326 protesters have died in clashes with the Iranian authorities including celebrity chef Mehrshad Shahidi.
  • Currently, over 15,000 protesters have been jailed and fears are rising that the death penalty may be awarded to the rest of the jailed protesters too. 
  • However, some reports saying that Iran is planning the mass execution of 15,000 protesters remain unverified.
  • Prominent Iranian celebrities and athletes are also showing their solidarity with the anti-hijab protesters in various ways.  
  • Iran has called the protests "riots" instigated by foreign powers. 
Iranian woman in Turkey cuts hair in solidarity with anti-hijab protesters in Iran. Photo: AFP

What the world is doing: The European Union announced a fresh wave of sanctions against 29 Iranian individuals over the regime's crackdown on anti-hijab protests.

  • EU has sanctioned 29 Iranians and three entities with travel bans and asset freezes. People in the bloc also cannot send money to the sanctioned individuals.
  • Among those sanctioned include Iran's Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi and the head of the Iranian Cyber Police Vahid Mohammad Naser Majid.

History of the veil in Iran: The current anti-hijab "protests" seem like a revolution in the making in Iran, something that French President Emmanuel Macron also acknowledged calling the protesters "children of revolution carrying out their own revolution". 

Woman protester in Berlin chops off hair in support of the anti-hijab protests in Iran. Photo: Getty Images
  • During the 1979 Iranian revolution, wearing the veil became the symbol of resistance against the Pahlavi monarchy which had banned women's veils in public in a bid to "modernise".
  • Fast forward several decades, the removal of women's veil has become the symbol of resistance against the regime that imposes mandatory veiling in public. 
  • The lesson here is perhaps governments should stop telling people, and especially women, on how to dress and what to do. 
Last updated: November 15, 2022 | 09:51
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