Iranian political prisoner Mohammad Javad Vafaei Sani

Iranian Political Prisoner Faces Risk Of Execution In Mashhad

Wednesday, 01/31/2024

Mohammad Javad Vafaei Sani, an Iranian political prisoner held in Vakilabad Prison in Mashhad, is at risk of imminent execution.

The US-based Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) announced the news saying that Vafaei Sani was sentenced to death earlier by Branch Two of the Revolutionary Court in Mashhad, following a retrial.

Babak Paknia, Vafaei Sani's lawyer, revealed that his client initially received the death sentence from the Mashhad Revolutionary Court in January 2022. The charges against him include "corruption on earth through intentional arson and destruction of specific places, including government buildings."

However, following the verdict, the supreme court overturned the decision, returning the case for further review, but his death penalty was upheld.

Vafaei Sani, a 28-year-old boxing coach, was apprehended by security forces in March 2020 during protests triggered by a government decision to hike gasoline prices and demonstrations related to the January 2020 downing of a Ukrainian airliner by Iranian forces.

Before the court's ruling, a substantial bail amount was set for Vafaei Sani's release, set so prohibitively high that it was impossible to meet.

Iran has seen a surge in executions, with the Islamic Republic executing 90 Iranians between December 22 and January 21. UN experts reported that in 2023, Iran executed at least 834 people, eight of whom were linked to nationwide protests. The experts have urgently called on the Iranian government to halt the rising trend of executions and conduct a comprehensive evaluation of death penalty practices.

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