Iran executed the first detained protester on Thursday who was convicted of injuring a security guard with a knife and closing off a street in the capital Tehran.
Dozens of detained protesters face charges or have been convicted of charges that carry the death penalty according to Iran’s Islamic laws.
Nationwide protests that erupted after the death of 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini on September 16 represent one of the biggest challenges to the Islamic Republic since its establishment in 1979.
The Tasnim news agency, affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard, identified the person who was executed as Mohsen Shekari but gave no more details. The specific actions Tasnim mentioned as reasons for Shekari’s death sentence cannot be independently verified.
So far, around 500 civilians have been killed by security forces and at least 18,000 arrested. While many have been since released, around 1,500 face criminal charges.
On Monday, the Revolutionary Guards praised the hardliner Judiciary for its tough stand and encouraged it to issue judgements swiftly and decisively for defendants accused of "corruption on earth”, or Moharebeh, an Islamic-Arabic term meaning ‘fighting against God.” Both these concepts are legally vague term, leaving clerical judges to convict people to death without a real trial, often with no defense lawyers and behind closed doors. The defendants have no way of challenging state evidence or introduce witnesses.
Judiciary spokesman Masoud Setayeshi announced on Tuesday that five people indicted in the killing of a Basij militia member, Rouhollah Ajamian, were sentenced to death in a verdict which they can appeal.
An secret Revolutionary Guard audio recording released by a hactivist group last week revealed that up to 80 detainees face the death sentence.
Amnesty International has said the Iranian authorities are seeking the death penalty for at least 21 people in what it called "sham trials designed to intimidate those participating in the popular uprising that has rocked Iran".
“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," it said.
The Islamic Republic, which never allows dissident protests has fully dismissed the legitimacy of the current popular movement. Instead, its officials have accused the United States and its allies for fomenting the unrest. Recently, the commander of the Revolutionary Guard in Tehran said that the US has spent $55 trillion dollars against the Islamic Republic, mindless of the fact that the amount is twice the US annual GDP.