Iran to execute protester with mental health condition on Tuesday, says lawyer

Mon January 22, 2024-By AnneClaire Stapleton and Adam Pourahmadi, CNN— An Iranian protester with a mental health condition will be executed on Tuesday over the death of a local official during Iran’s 2022 mass demonstrations, his lawyer Amir Raesian said Monday.

Writing on X, Raesian said he received a notification from the Tehran General and Revolutionary Court that Mohammad Ghobadlou’s death sentence will be carried out on January 23, 2024.

Ghobadlou was sentenced to death by Iranian judge Abolqasem Salavati two years ago. Salavati has previously been sanctioned by the US for the notoriously harsh sentences he issued to activists, journalists, and political prisoners, CNN previously reported.

Iranian authorities allege Ghobadlou ran over a local official during a protest in Robat Karim, Tehran province, in September 2022, according to rights group Amnesty International.

He received two death sentences in relation to the death, according to Amnesty. The first death sentence was issued by a Revolutionary Court for “corruption on earth” on November 16, 2022 and upheld by the Supreme Court the following month, the rights group said. A second death sentence was issued by a criminal court in Tehran province for “murder” at the end of December 2022, it added.

But Amnesty criticized the death sentences for following what it described as “grossly unfair sham trials, marred by torture-tainted ‘confessions’ and failure to order rigorous mental health assessments despite (Ghobadlou’s) mental disability.”

Ghobadlou has been under the supervision of a psychiatric hospital for bipolar disorder since the age of 15, according to Amnesty. International law and standards prohibit using the death penalty against people with mental disabilities, according to Amnesty International.

Executions surged in Iran as the government cracked down on nationwide protests in 2022 after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in the custody of the country’s so-called morality police.

Authorities violently repressed the months-long movement that posed one of the biggest domestic threats to Iran’s ruling clerical regime in more than a decade. Rights groups noted last year that the marked rise in executions reflected an effort by Tehran to “instill fear” among anti-regime protesters.

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