Mohammad Ghobadlou (left) and Abbas Deris

Iranian Supreme Court Overturns Two Death Sentences

Wednesday, 07/26/2023

The Iranian Supreme Court has revoked the death sentences of Mohammad Ghobadlou and suspended the execution order against Abbas Deris.

The decisions come amidst widespread protests and international scrutiny surrounding the country's handling of detainees from the nationwide demonstrations sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody. The protests spread across many cities, leading to mass arrests and several individuals sentenced to death without proper trial.

Ghobadlou, a 22-year-old detainee, was charged with ‘moharebeh’ or “waging war against God" and "corruption on earth" and had been given a death sentence by the Supreme Court. The accusations against him included the alleged killing of a police officer and injuring five others by hitting them with his car. In January, he was given a stay of execution but in May the court upheld the death sentence regardless of his lawyer’s objections and documents that could potentially exonerate him. However, today, the country's highest court overturned and revoked his death sentence.

Amir Raisian, Ghobadlou's lawyer, said, "The verdict in Branch 1 of the country's Supreme Court has been overturned, and the case will be referred to a same level court for consideration of my client's mental health issues and issuing a verdict."

An execution order against Abbas Deris, 49, who was arrested during the infamous Mahshahr canebrake crackdown in 2019, has also been suspended. During the protests, one of the bloodiest crackdowns in the history of the Islamic Republic, Deris was arrested with his 29-year-old brother Mohsen, who was acquitted of the ‘moharebeh’ charges. However, the elder brother faced a death sentence, which was upheld by Branch 39 of the Supreme Court in May and his lawyer, Fereshteh Tabanian, announced that a retrial had been registered. In response to overwhelming support on social media and appeals from his family and children, the court has now ordered the halt of the execution, and his case will be re-examined.

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