A photo of Majidreza Rahnavard in court where he was forced to say he was eager to be punished. Nov. 30, 2022

A photo of Majidreza Rahnavard in court where he was forced to say he was eager to be punished. Nov. 30, 2022

Iranians Express Anger At Execution Of Young Protester

Monday, 12/12/2022

People took to the street in Iranian cities Monday evening chanting slogans or quietly marching in protest to the execution of a second protester in the morning.

A video taken in Mashhad, the hometown of the twenty-three-year-old Majidreza Rahnavard who was executed in the early hours of Monday, shows a group of youth chanting “Why you are silent people? Iran has become Palestine!”.

Photos published of the “public execution” show the young man hanging from a construction crane in the dusk while masked security forces and tens of others stand around. The body was left hanging until after sunrise.

Spectators of the “public execution” were apparently handpicked members of the security forces and judiciary officials as the public and even the family had been kept in the dark about the decision to execute him.

Authorities allowed Rahnavard’s mother a visit to prison Sunday evening without telling the family their loved one was going to be executed the next morning. The two even took several photos together in which both, apparently falsely believing that the death sentence had been dropped, appear with smiles on their faces.

Outside the Rahnavard family's home in Mashhad, Iran on December 12, 2022

Photos posted on social media show the bereaved family have decorated their door with colorful lights and put a large photo of him. They also erected a domed structure known as hijla (bridal chamber) in front of their house, also decorated with lights and flowers as tradition dictates when a young man dies before having wed.

There are also photos and videos of Rahnavard’s grave, where security forces buried him before informing the family of the execution. “Martyred for the homeland”, one of women present at the grave chants. In another video people are heard wailing and chanting “Khamenei is a murderer, his [religious] authority is not legitimate!”.

Iran's judiciary claims that Rahnavard attacked several “protectors of security”, apparently two Basij members and plainclothesmen, without provocation and stabbed two of them to death. Some people, however, have claimed on social media that the young man took part in several protests and had used the knife to defend his younger sister who was harassed for her ‘bad’ hijab by several of the Basij militiamen and plainclothesmen on the street near his home on the day of the incident.

Rahnavard's grave with a hand-written marker

There are few videos of protests Monday evening, apparently for the reason that people are leaving their mobile phones home for security, but a video posted on Twitter shows protesters chanting against the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and its Basij paramilitary force in Shiraz, capital of Fars Province. Another video shows people silently marching in Karaj, capital of Alborz Province to the west of Tehran.

In several neighborhoods of the capital, including Haft Howz in the east of the capital and Sattar Khan, and in Rasht, capital of the northern province of Gilan, people protested on the streets, chanting slogans such as “Down with the Dictator”, “Last message! We will rise up if you execute!”, and “You took away Majidreza and brought back his lifeless body!”

A video posted on Twitter shows that in Sattar Khan avenue protesters who had gathered outside the house of Mohsen Shekari, who was the first to be executed four days ago, clashed with security forces, chanting “Rascals, Rascals” at them.

Some people chose to express their anger in yet other ways. A woman in Tehran protested by holding placards telling the government “Don’t execute” at a metro station. Another woman at a metro station held a placard which urged people to “wake up” and protest to executions to put an end to “gallows”.

Protesters said on Twitter that security forces were using tear gas to disperse people as soon as more than a handful gathered, even quietly. Others reported that internet is very slow or completely down, to prevent uploading videos.

“There was a good crowd where we were in Haft Howz [in the east of Tehran], walking and pretending to be shopping, but they started shooting at us with paint markers and pepper sprayed us. My father is a war veteran and was badly affected by it,” a protester tweeted.

24 with Fardad
24 with Fardad
G4 Protest Special - Evening (2023)

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