Iran Sentences Hijab Protesters to Death to Send a Message

The first Iranian protester has been sentenced to death since the firestorm of rebellion was lit two months ago after state forces killed 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.

Amini supposedly violated modesty laws in the religious extremist country and was beaten to death by the infamous state morality police.

Since then, protests have ravaged the country, and more than 15,300 people have been detained for their part in the protests. At least 2,000 people have been recently charged with being involved with the protests.

The first protester has now been sentenced to death for what the Iranian court calls “enmity against God.” This has led some outlets online to suggest that the remaining thousands of people are to be executed as well, but there’s no sign that that’s necessarily what’s going to happen.

Another court, for instance, has offered five-to-ten-year prison sentences for participating in what they call “riots” (protests). It’s more likely that state leaders will choose figureheads to execute as a warning to others. Judiciary chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei says that “key perpetrators” should be identified and handed sentences that would have a deterrent effect on others.

Mohseni warned that “rioters” could be charged with “moharebeh” (enmity against God), “efsad fil-arz” (corruption on Earth) and “baghy” (armed rebellion). All of these carry the death penalty as a potential punishment.

While it’s unlikely 15,000 people will be executed, that doesn’t mean that the situation is not urgent from a humanitarian point of view. At least 20 people are facing potential execution for their part in the protests, which Norway-based Iran Human Rights group has blasted as inhumane. The group’s director, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, called on the international community to take urgent action and “strongly warn the Islamic Republic of the consequences of executing protesters.”