An Iranian official says five people have received death sentences for “killing a member of Basij plainclothes militia” during protests near Tehran in November.
Judiciary Spokesman Masoud Setayeshi said Tuesday that 16 people had been arrested in the case, among them three minors.
Members of Basij paramilitary are armed and deployed to crack down on protesters, often killing civilians in the streets.
He went on to say that five of them, whose names were not released, are accused of killing Rouhollah Ajamian in the city of Karaj west of Tehran on November 3.
Setayeshi stated that 11 others, including three children will face long prison terms on charges of “corruption on earth” and disrupting national security.
However, he said the verdicts are not final and the sentences can be appealed.
Iran’s Judiciary can frame people for crimes they did not commit, as multiple cases have demonstrated in the past. It can define what “disruption” means and sentence any protester to death for causing an ill-defined act of disruption.
One of the biggest challenges to Iran's clerical leaders since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the twelve-week-old demonstrations have persisted despite a deadly crackdown and severe warnings from security forces.
Iran’s use of the death penalty for protesters has been sharply criticized by the United Nations while some countries and many right groups have also condemned the move.
According to Amnesty International at least 28 inmates currently face execution for participation in the demonstrations.