Iran court orders retrial for anti-regime protester on death row
Mahan Sedarat had requested his case be heard again; defendant was found guilty of ‘enmity against God,’ a crime that carries capital punishment
By AFP 21st December 2022, 5:15 pm
Undated photo of Mahan Sedarat, an Iranian who was sentenced to death for participating in anti-regime protests, November, 2022. (Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s Supreme Court has ordered a retrial for a young Iranian sentenced to death for his part in protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, the judiciary said on Wednesday.
Mahan Sedarat was one of nearly a dozen Iranians sentenced to death after being convicted of capital offenses during the protests that erupted following Amini’s death in custody on September 16.
The 22-year-old Iranian Kurd had been arrested in Tehran for an alleged breach of the Islamic Republic’s dress code for women.
“The accused’s request for a retrial was found to be in accordance with the law… and so the case was referred to the court for retrial,” the judiciary’s Mizan Online news website reported.
Sedarat, who is in his early 20s, had been found guilty of “moharebeh” — or “enmity against God” — an Islamic sharia law offense that can carry the death penalty in Iran.
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His conviction was based on allegations he had drawn a knife, causing fear and insecurity, state news agency IRNA said earlier this month.
At a court hearing on November 3, Sedarat pleaded not guilty to the knife charge, but admitted setting a motorbike on fire, the news agency added.
Officials in Iran say hundreds of people have been killed in the months-long street violence, including dozens of security force personnel. Thousands more have been arrested.
The judiciary has said it has handed down 11 death sentences in connection with the protests. Two of those have been carried out.
Majidreza Rahnavard, 23, was hanged in public on December 12 after being sentenced to death by a court in the city of Mashhad for killing two members of the security forces with a knife. Four days earlier, Mohsen Shekari, also 23, was executed for wounding a member of the security forces.
Campaigners say a dozen other defendants are charged with offences that could see them receive the death penalty too.
Also on Wednesday, Mizan Online said that a reported death sentence against medical doctor Hamid Ghare-Hasanlou was not yet final.
“No definitive verdict has been issued yet and the case… is being investigated in the Supreme Court,” it said.
Amnesty International had said that Ghare-Hasanlou, a doctor, and his wife Farzaneh were on their way to the funeral of a protester who had been killed when they were “caught up in the chaos” of a deadly assault on a security force member.
Reformist newspaper Etemad reported Wednesday that “Ghare-Hasanlou’s death sentence has been cancelled.”