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Semafor LogoKarina Tsui
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Iran sentences a protester to death

Karina Tsui is a Breaking News reporter. You can reach her at ktsui@semafor.com. Sign up for Flagship, our daily newsletter that distills what’s happening in the world into a concise, insightful morning read.

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Iran’s Revolutionary Court issued its first death sentence in connection with the recent protests that have roiled the country since September following the death of Mahsa Amini.

The unidentified person was found guilty of "enmity against God" among other charges after allegedly setting fire to a government building, according to state media.

A police motorcycle burns during a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by the Islamic republic's "morality police", in Tehran, Iran.
WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS
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The protester was also sentenced on the charge of “disturbing public order and comfort, community, and colluding to commit a crime against national security,” according to judiciary website, Mizan Online.

Anti-regime protests have gripped over 140 cities across Iran, according to the BBC, after 22-year-old Amini died in custody of the moral police over defying the country’s mandatory hijab rule.

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More than 300 people have been killed since demonstrations began in September, including 43 children and 25 women, according to the Norwegian group Iran Human Rights. The number varies by different agencies who are tracking the death toll.

On Sunday, five protesters were handed jail terms ranging from five to 10 years. The rulings are subject to appeal. Data from the country’s judiciary found that more than 2,000 people have been charged for crimes related to rioting.

Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei, the head of Iran's judiciary, said that “key perpetrators” should be handed sentences as soon as possible, so as to deter others from protesting. He added that protesters could be charged with “efsad fil-arz” (corruption on Earth) and “daghy” (armed rebellion) –– both of which are punishably by the death penalty.

Iran is ranked second behind China as the world’s top executioner, according to Amnesty International. In 2021, Iran sentenced over 240 people to death.

In a statement Monday, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan condemned the mass arrests, "sham trials," and the death sentence "for protesters voicing legitimate demands against a government that systematically denies basic dignity and freedom to its people."

“The human rights abuses inflicted by its government must not go without consequence,” Sullivan said.

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