Advertisement

Protesters executed by Iran include barista, karate champion and a shop worker

Protesters in Berlin on Dec. 12 wear portraits of Majid Reza Rahnavard, 23, and Mohsen Shekari, 23, both of whom were recently executed by Iranian authorities. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images - image credit)
Protesters in Berlin on Dec. 12 wear portraits of Majid Reza Rahnavard, 23, and Mohsen Shekari, 23, both of whom were recently executed by Iranian authorities. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images - image credit)

The dead include: a barista, a karate champion, a poultry worker, a shop worker. For a little over a month, Iran has been executing its own citizens as it tries to crush the uprising that has gripped the country since a young woman died in police custody in September.

At least four men have been hanged so far, and many more Iranians are in danger of the same fate. CBC News in late December identified dozens of individuals at high risk; Amnesty International said in mid-December at least 26 people faced the death penalty at the hands of one of the world's most frequent executioners.

The vast majority of these individuals are accused of "waging war against God" and "corruption on Earth" — crimes punishable by death under the Islamic Republic's Shariah law. The biggest threat to the regime since its inception in 1979 erupted after Mahsa Amini, 22, died in the custody of the so-called morality police, allegedly for not wearing her hijab properly.

The executions are just the most high-profile of the killings carried out by Iranian authorities. Over 19,000 people have so far been detained since the start of protests, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), a press association established by Iranian campaigners. Of those, at least 517 have been killed, including 70 minors.

Here's a glimpse of the personal lives — and rushed trials — of the people executed so far:

Dec. 8, Mohsen Shekari 

AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

Mohsen Shekari, 23, was the first person to be executed for participating in recent protests. His killing came less than three months after his arrest.

He was accused of burning a trash bin, blocking a road, stabbing a member of the Basij militia with a machete (the man required stitches) and threatening public safety. Rights groups have said Shekari's confession was obtained under torture. The U.S.-based Center for Human Rights in Iran said he made self-incriminating statements in a state-media video, with a bruise visible on his face.

Masoud Kazemi, a journalist based in Turkey, told CBC News recently that the regime pressured Shekari's family to stay silent "until the point that they simply executed him without any notice."

A state media report also alleged that Shekari said he had been offered money by an acquaintance to attack the security forces. Iran's government for months has been stating — without offering evidence — that foreign countries have fomented the unrest.

The Center for Human Rights in Iran said Shekari was a barista, and there is video of him on social media singing.

He is also described online as a gamer who loved the action franchise God of War. That drew the attention of game creator David Jaffe, who lauded Shekari and condemned the regime on social media.

Taraneh Alidoosti, the 38-year-old star of the Oscar-winning 2016 film The Salesmanwas detained for nearly three weeks after criticizing Shekari's execution.

Dec. 12, Majid Reza Rahnavard

AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

Majid Reza Rahnavard, 23, was hanged from a crane in public in the northeastern city of Mashhad, less than a month after his arrest.

He was accused of stabbing to death two Basij members and wounding four other people in Mashhad.

Iran's state media aired footage of a man, whom they alleged was Rahnavard, stabbing another man who fell against a parked motorcycle and then stabbing another person immediately after.

Activist network 1500tasvir posted photos of Rahnavard, a shop worker, riding a motorcycle and working out.

Jan. 7, Sayed Mohammad Hosseini

West Asia News Agency/Reuters
West Asia News Agency/Reuters

Sayed Mohammad Hosseini was one of two men executed on the same day after being convicted of killing a member of the Basij in the city of Karaj just outside Tehran. Three others have been sentenced to death in the same case, while 11 received prison sentences.

"Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini, principal perpetrators of the crime that led to the unjust martyrdom of Ruhollah Ajamian were hanged this morning," the judiciary said in a statement carried by the official IRNA news agency.

Hosseini's lawyer, Ali Sharifzadeh Ardakani, said in a Dec. 18 post on Twitter that Hosseini had been severely tortured and that confessions extracted under torture had no legal basis.

He said Hosseini was beaten with his hands and feet tied up, kicked in the head until he passed out and subjected to electric shocks on different parts of his body.

The Center for Human Rights in Iran said he worked at a poultry farm.

Ye-One Rhie, a German member of parliament who is advocating for Iranian protesters, tweeted that Hosseini visited his parents' graves every Thursday and "coaches kids for free."

Jan. 7, Mohammed Mehdi Karami

West Asia News Agency/Reuters
West Asia News Agency/Reuters

Amnesty International said the court that convicted Karami, a 22-year-old karate champion, relied on forced confessions.

Norway-based Iran Human Rights said Karami's chosen lawyer, Mohammad Hossein Aghasi, was denied access to his client, compelling Karami to go on a hunger strike.

Before Karami's death, his father said his son was innocent and had pleaded for authorities to release him, noting that he had won several national titles.