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Iran suspends execution of three protesters

Iranian Anti-Government Protesters (Fars News Agency/WikiCommons)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Iran has suspended the execution of three men linked to anti-government protests in November 2019, one of their lawyers says.

Babak Paknia said in a Twitter post on July 19 that the Iranian judiciary had ordered a retrial for the three.

The lawyer’s announcement comes after a massive social-media campaign calling for Iran to halt state executions. The online protest has been joined by many Iranians — including ordinary citizens as well as intellectuals, former politicians, and prominent artists.

Amnesty International recorded 251 executions in Iran during 2019, making Iran second to China for state executions.

Using the Persian-language hashtag #Don’t_Execute — # اعدام_نکنید — the campaign was launched in response to confirmation on July 14 by Iran’s powerful judiciary that death sentences had been upheld against Amir Hossein Moradi, 25, Saeed Tamjidi, 27, and Mohammad Rajabi, 25.

The three were among many who were arrested in a brutal crackdown against demonstrators who took to the streets in dozens of cities and towns across Iran in November 2019.

Analysts said the social-media campaign was unprecedented in its scope and the level of participation of Iranians both within and outside Iran.

Many took to Twitter, which is blocked in Iran, and Instagram, the only social-media platform that has not been blocked in the Islamic republic.

The hashtag #Don’t_Execute in Persian has trended globally on Twitter, being used more than 7 million times.

Other social-networking platforms also were used to share pictures of the three Iranian men on death row and to call for their executions to be halted.

The protests, sparked by a sudden hike in the price of gasoline, focused on Iran’s deteriorating economy, rising poverty, and government corruption. But they quickly turned political with chants against the clerical establishment.

Amnesty International has said at least 304 people were killed in the crackdown.