iran carries out second execution linked to protests

Iran Carries Out Second Execution Linked to Protests

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Some Iranians describe a growing climate of fear. Mina, a 26-year-old resident of Tehran, said her parents had cried after the first execution and asked her to stop going to demonstrations at night in the neighborhood. She was undecided but admitted she and her friends were shaken after watching videos of Mr. Shekari’s mother screaming his name and crying when she heard the news of his execution.

Videos of grandmothers of two of the young men facing imminent execution have gone viral. In the videos the grandmothers wail and plead with judicial officials to spare the lives of their grandsons, saying they made a mistake and should be forgiven.

The father of another protester on death row — Mehdi Karami, a 20-year-old karate champion — told the newspaper Etemad on Monday that the lawyer assigned to his son’s case by the government won’t answer family members’ calls and they do not know the address for his law practice.

“Every night I fear they will tell me the news of my child’s execution,” Etemad quoted the father, Mashallah Karami, as saying. Mr. Karami described himself as a peddler who sells napkins and tissues on the streets and has another son who is disabled. “I beg you in God’s name, don’t execute my child! Give him a life sentence instead.”

The executions have even appeared to shake parts of the country’s clerical establishment. A prominent collective of scholars and senior clerics from the theological schools in the city of Qom issued a statement condemning the executions on charges that the two hanged men were “moharebe,” enemies of God. The clerics criticized the hasty pace of the trials and said the charges and punishment were not proportional to the crimes committed, and called on the judiciary to halt further executions.

The head of the clerical judiciary, Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje’i, said on Monday that it was well within the authority of the judges to decide what constitutes being an enemy of God. And the deputy interior minister, Majid Mirahmadi, was quoted by Iranian news outlets on Saturday as saying that the media and international outrage around executing protesters would have no effect on the decisions of judiciary officials.

But the executions have caused deep anxiety among the public and the Iranian diaspora. And some Iranian news outlets have seized on the case of a Basij plainclothes militia member, Mohamadreza Ghanbartalab, pleading to reverse the death sentence of a protester charged with assaulting him. After testifying against the accused assailant, Mr. Ghanbartalab withdrew his judicial complaint and forgave the defendant, Mahan Sadrat, Iranian media have reported.