Iran court to retry 3 sentenced to death over protests

AFP , Saturday 5 Dec 2020

'A request to retry the three sentenced to death over the (November) incidents was accepted,' the supreme court said on its official website

Iran's supreme court said Saturday it will review the cases of three young men sentenced to death over links to deadly November 2019 protests after a request from their lawyers.

Numerous calls had spread online after the verdict was announced, calling for a halt for executions in Iran, with the United Nations and European countries reaffirming their opposition to the death sentence.

In July, Iran's judiciary halted the death sentences against the three a week after they were upheld by a tribunal over evidence the judiciary said was found on their phones of them setting alight banks, buses and public buildings during the wave of anti-government protests.

"A request to retry the three sentenced to death over the (November) incidents was accepted," the supreme court said on its official website.

"The case will be reviewed in another tribunal," it added, without elaborating further on the decision.

Four lawyers representing the accused made the request days after the young men's sentences were upheld in July, local media said at the time.

One of the lawyers identified the three as friends 26-year-old retain worker Amirhossein Moradi, Said Tamjidi, a 28-year-old driver for Snapp (Iran's Uber), and Mohammad Rajabi, also 26 and unemployed.

They were sentenced over "collusion to endanger national security" and "destroying and setting fire to public property with the aim of confronting the political system of the Islamic republic," Babak Paknia, who represents Moradi, told AFP in an interview in July.

Paknia confirmed the supreme court's decision in a tweet on Saturday.

The demonstrations erupted in November last year after authorities more than doubled fuel prices overnight, exacerbating economic hardship in the sanctions-hit country.

They rocked a handful of cities before spreading to at least 100 urban centres across Iran.

Petrol pumps were torched, police stations attacked and shops looted before security forces stepped in amid a near-total internet blackout.

A senior Iranian lawmaker in June put the death toll at 230 but said most were killed by armed "rioters," months after authorities had refused to provide casualty figures.

London-based rights group Amnesty International has put the number of deaths at 304, including 23 minors, and a group of independent UN rights experts said last year that 400 could have been killed.

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