Amnesty International says Iran’s regime is seeking the death penalty for at least 21 people in “sham trials” designed to intimidate those who take part in antigovernment protests.

In a statement on Wednesday, Amnesty added that these trials are to deter other people to join the movement that began with the death of Mahsa Amini in September in police custody.

“The Iranian authorities must immediately quash all death sentences, refrain from seeking the imposition of the death penalty and drop all charges against those arrested in connection with their peaceful participation in protests. The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, its abhorrent nature further compounded by a fundamentally flawed criminal trials devoid of transparency or independence,” said Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Amnesty also noted in its statement that since November 13, the Iranian officials have announced, in separate statements, that Revolutionary Courts in Tehran have sentenced five unnamed individuals to death for “enmity against God” and “corruption on earth”. At least 12 other people including a woman are also facing capital charges in connection with the protests.

The international body urged all governments with embassies in Iran to immediately send high level observers to all ongoing trials where defendants are at risk of being sentenced to death. The Iranian authorities have said such trials will be public.

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