Nearly a month after the Al-Quds Day protests, the Iranian government has announced that three individuals who participated in post-election riots during the summer have been sentenced to death.
Right now, information on the crimes of the accused is scant, since the Iranian government restricts the activity of journalists within the country. The most publicized sentencing has probably been that of Mohammad-Reza Ali-Zamani, thanks to Amnesty International (AI), which urged Iranian authorities to rescind his death sentence as part of Amnesty’s World Day Against the Death Penalty Day on Oct. 10. Some of the crimes of which he is accused include “propaganda against the system” and “insulting the holy sanctities.”
I doubt these are the last of the death sentences that will be handed out by the regime. More than 100 others are currently standing trial before a Tehran Revolutionary Court for their participation in the protests, and many allege they have been tortured into producing confessions. By AI’s estimation, at least 13 other people are also currently at risk of being executed in Iran.
In light of the huff produced by Obama’s receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize, it is worth mentioning that several protestors were being considered for the honor. Some of these individuals include opposition candidates Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi. Many believe awarding one of these men the prize would have gone a long way toward legitimizing the Green Movement and preventing President Ahmadinejad from taking further action against those awaiting trial.
Though the death sentences can, and probably will, be appealed, the significance of this development cannot be overestimated. If the regime goes through with the executions, I see two possible outcomes: the people will be so afraid of the consequences of speaking out against the government that they will be permanently subdued, or they will be so outraged by the regime’s actions that they will protest again, and this time, even more vigorously.
I’m gunning for the latter.
Kathleen Elise Murphy is a freshman with an undeclared major. She may be contacted at email@example.com.