LONDON: As Iran hanged a second man in connection with protests on Monday, Amnesty International said that at least 27 people in the country, including three juveniles, were at “great risk” of execution in “grossly unfair sham trials.”
In a letter sent to Iranian Chief of Justice Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei earlier in the month, the human rights organization said that some of those at risk had been sentenced to death while others had been charged with crimes that could result in the death penalty.
Iran Human Rights said on Saturday that the actual number was likely to be much higher, as most families were under pressure to keep quiet. The Oslo-based group estimated the figure to be at least 39.
Amnesty said that all of the individuals they considered to be at risk had been denied “the rights to adequate defense and access to lawyers of their choosing; to be presumed innocent; to remain silent; and to receive a fair, public hearing.”
In violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Iran ratified, three children are being tried in adult courts.
Several defendants had been tortured and their “confessions” used as evidence, sources told Amnesty.
Among those alleged to have been tortured to extract confessions are married couple Farzaneh and Hamid Ghare-Hasanlou.
Amnesty said that Hamid, who is a doctor, was removed from hospital after undergoing surgery for internal bleeding and taken to court while still heavily sedated.
The couple’s first two lawyers dropped their case after receiving threats from officials.
Majid Reza Rahnavard, 23, was hanged on Monday for killing two members of the security forces with a knife and wounding four other people, the judiciary’s Mizan Online news agency reported.
He was executed just over three weeks after being arrested in November, rights groups said.
The hanging came after Mohsen Shekari, also 23, was executed on Thursday on charges of wounding a member of the security forces. It was the first case of the death penalty being used against a protester.
“I urge you to immediately quash all convictions and death sentences, refrain from seeking further death sentences, and ensure that anyone charged with a recognizable criminal offense is tried in proceedings meeting international fair trial standards without recourse to the death penalty,” the Amnesty letter said.
“I urge you to release all those detained for peacefully exercising their human rights,” it added.