Iran must stop executing and persecuting protesters: Italy

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 September 19, 2022. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS/File Photo

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iran must stop executing and persecuting protesters and should open a dialogue with them, Italy’s Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said on Wednesday after summoning the Iranian ambassador.

Tajani said death sentences against people who take part in demonstrations or women who refuse to wear headscarves were a grossly disproportionate and unacceptable form of punishment.

“Taking off a veil or participating in a protest is not a crime that can lead to the death penalty anywhere in the world,” he said.

Nationwide unrest erupted in Iran three months ago after the death in detention of 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by morality police enforcing the Islamic Republic’s mandatory dress code laws.

The protests mark one of the boldest challenges to Iran’s leadership since its 1979 revolution and have drawn in Iranians from all walks of life.

Iran hanged two protesters earlier this month: Mohsen Shekari, 23, who was accused of blocking a main road in September and wounding a member of the paramilitary Basij force with a knife, and Majid Reza Rahnavard, 23, who was accused of stabbing to death two Basij members, and publicly hanged from a construction crane.

Rights group HRANA says about 18,500 people have been arrested during the unrest. Government officials say most have been released.

HRANA also says that as of Dec. 25, 507 protesters had been killed, including 69 minors, as well as 66 members of the security forces.

(Esta Media Network/Reuters)

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