Iran’s judiciary said Mostafa Salehi, a protester detained during anti-government demonstrations in December 2017, has been put to the gallows. The execution by hanging was carried out in the early hours of Wednesday at Dastgerd Prison, in the central city of Isfahan.
One day before the execution, HRANA News Agency — run by a group of Iranian human rights advocates, whose activities are banned by the Islamic Republic — renewed calls for a halt to the order. In a detailed report, the group voiced concern that prison authorities were pressing ahead with the death penalty procedures as the convict was sent to solitary confinement and was barred from contacting his family, two common alarms in the run-up to most executions in Iran.
Judges found Salehi guilty of premeditated murder of an officer with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps during the protests. In the proceedings, however, Salehi had denied the murder charges. IRGC-affiliated media outlets reported that Salehi had also acted as “riot leader” in his hometown of Kahriz-Sang, Isfahan province.
The protests that spread across some 100 Iranian cities and towns in late 2017 and early 2018 were triggered by economic grievances and became Iran’s largest post-revolution demonstration led by members of its lower classes. At least 25 protesters died in clashes with police and plainclothes forces and 5,000 others were put behind bars.
Five other men arrested during the same demonstrations in the same province are now on death row. Iranian authorities say “arrangements” for those penalties have yet to be completed. Human rights activists, however, fear that the noose could be around the inmates’ necks any moment as Iranian prison officials typically refuse to disclose execution dates in advance.