Iran: Demonstrators executed and journalist arrested in post-protest crackdown



CNN

Iran executed two men on Saturday, according to the state-affiliated Fars News, bringing the total number of people executed in connection with the protests that have swept the country since September to four.

Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Seyed Mohammad Hosseini were hanged early Saturday morning, Fars News reported. The pair, who allegedly took part in anti-regime protests last year, were convicted of killing Seyed Ruhollah Ajamian, a member of the country’s Basij paramilitary force, in Karaj on November 3, according to Iran’s Mizan news agency.

Mohammad Hossein Aghasi, a lawyer for Karami, posted on Twitter Saturday that Karami was not finally given the right to speak with his family before he was executed. The lawyer added that Karami had begun a dry food hunger strike on Wednesday as a form of protest against officials for not allowing Aghasi to represent him.

In December, Karami’s parents took to social media in a plea for his life. “Please, I am asking you to remove the execution order from my son’s file,” said the father of the 21-year-old karate master.

As many as 41 more protesters have been sentenced to death in Iran, according to statements by both Iranian officials and in Iranian media reviewed by CNN and 1500Tasvir, but the number could be much higher.

Meanwhile, the political editor of the independent Iranian newspaper Etemad Online, Mehdi Beyk, was arrested on Thursday, according to a tweet from the publication. The arrest came amid a crackdown by Iranian authorities following the protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini last year, after she was detained by the state’s morality police for allegedly not wearing her hijab properly. The protests have since gathered around a number of grievances with the authoritarian regime.

Mehdi Beyk is seen in a photo posted by his wife, Zahra Beyk, after his arrest.

Beyk was arrested by officials from Iran’s Ministry of Information, his wife, Zahra Beyk, said on Friday.

He was arrested after he “interviewed the families of several of those arrested in the ongoing demonstrations,” according to pro-reform activist outlet IranWire.

The journalist’s “mobile phone, laptop and belongings were confiscated,” his wife tweeted. It is so far unclear why Beyk was arrested.

Iranian officials have previously arrested some people for their criticism of the government’s response to the demonstrations.

One of Iran’s best-known actresses, Taraneh Alidoosti, was released on bail on Wednesday, the state federation ISNA said, after she was arrested following her criticism of the execution of a protester.

Known as a feminist activist, Alidoosti last month posted a photo on Instagram of herself without an Islamic hijab and holding a sign reading “Women, Life, Freedom” to show support for the protest movement.

Alidoosti was not formally charged but was initially arrested for “lack of evidence for her claims” in connection with her protest against the hanging of Mohsen Shekari last month in the first known execution linked to the protests.

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