Iran has executed three men linked to mass protests against the regime on charges of “waging war against God” after they smuggled a letter out of prison urging residents to help free them.
In a statement, the Iranian judiciary said it had executed Majid Kazemi, Saleh Mirhashemi and Saeed Yaghoubi, without giving details of the method.
The charge of “war against God” is levelled at those who act against the government in Iran and typically carries the death sentence. Iran has used it heavily to quell mass protests against the leadership.
The trio had been accused of killing a police officer and two paramilitary members during a mass uprising against the regime last year which left hundreds dead.
Earlier this week, the three men had smuggled a letter out of their prison in Isfahan, south of Tehran, which said, “don’t let them kill us”.
Human rights groups, including Amnesty International, say the three men were tortured, denied access to lawyers and forced into making false confessions.
“The prosecution relied on forced ‘confessions’, and the indictment was riddled with irregularities that reveal this was a politically motivated case,” Hadi Ghaemi, the executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran, said on Friday.
He added that one of the men, Mr Kazemi, told relatives he was flogged on his feet, hurt with a stun gun and threatened with sexual assault as his jailers sought a confession.
The executions are part of a broader crackdown on the protest movement which has seen many Iranians sentenced to death after being given as little as 15 minutes to defend themselves in sham trials.
“The shocking manner in which the trial and sentencing of these protesters was fast-tracked through Iran’s judicial system amid the use of torture-tainted ‘confessions’, serious procedural flaws and a lack of evidence is another example of the Iranian authorities’ brazen disregard for the rights to life and fair trial,” said Amnesty’s Middle East director Diana Eltahawy.
Mass protests against Iran’s leadership broke out last year after Mahsa Amini, 22, was beaten to death by the country’s morality police for incorrectly wearing a hijab.
Tens of thousands of Iranians took to the streets in dozens of cities calling for an end to the regime, but the protests were brutally suppressed and have now largely subsided.
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