Just two days after Iran executed two individuals, Seyed Mohammad Hosseini and Mohammad Mehdi Karimi in connection with the nationwide protests, it has sentenced three more people to death under the Moharebeh charge which means 'waging war on God'.
According to Iran's Mizan news agency, the three individuals, Saleh Mirhashemi, Majid Kazemi and Saeid Yaghoubi have been convicted of allegedly killing members of the Basij militia during the anti-government protests in the central city of Isfahan.
The Middle Eastern country has been on an execution spree in the past few months, especially after the country was rocked by protests since September 2022. The custodial death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini on September 16 led to massive protests by the Iranian people against the Khameini regime.
The executions of anti-government protesters: Till now, Iran has executed four people in connection with the anti-government protests. The four people are
Under all the four executions, the Iranian courts have invoked the shariah law Moharebeh, which means waging war against God.
In 2016, 44 people in Iran were executed on this charge. Most of them were political rebels and were accused of "spreading corruption on earth".
What is the Moharebeh law? Moharebeh is a Farsi word, which itself means "enmity against God". Hence, a Moharebeh crime is an offence against God, punishable by death.
To punish a mohareb, Article 282 of the Islamic Penal Code in Iran empowers a judge to hand over one of the specified punishments at his own discretion:
What is the Shariah explanation of the law: The term Moharebeh entered Iran's legal textbook after the 1979 revolution which overthrew the regime of the secular Shah of Iran and installed Ayatollah Khomeini as its Supreme Leader.
The scriptural basis of this law comes from the Koranic verse, Surah al Ma'edah, verse number 33-44, which means
In most cases, the ones accused of Moharebeh are sentenced to death; however, women are exempted from this punishment. Instead, the women are given long prison sentences, or the appeals of convicts are converted into life imprisonment from execution by the courts.
Government cracks down on protesters: The Ayatollah Ali Khameini government has cracked down hard on the Iranian protesters. Only last year, according to a Human Rights group report, Iran executed 504 people, which was one of the highest executions in the world.
According to a report by Amnesty International, 26 protesters are at the risk of execution. Of the 26, at least 11 have been sentenced to death and 15 are charged with capital offences and undergoing trials.
Iranian authorities have denied the protests as a conspiracy of the West, mainly Israel and US, and have said that these foreign powers are behind the chaos in the country. The authorities have also denied any role in the death of Mahsa Amini and the controversial morality police has also not been disbanded.
In the coming weeks, more people could face execution.