Iran, which has already executed four people who took part in protests in recent months, sentenced three more people to death on Monday on charges of “waging war on God.”
The three men – Saleh Mirhashemi, Majid Kazemi and Saeid Yaghoubi – were accused of killing members of the Basij militia, a paramilitary group affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
Two men were hanged on Saturday, while two others were executed in December.
Officials from the U.S. and other Western nations have accused Iran of convicting suspects in kangaroo courts and rushing to carry out their executions.
“These executions are a key component of the regime’s effort to suppress protests,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price tweeted Saturday. “We continue to work with partners to pursue accountability for Iran’s brutal crackdown.”
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Protests broke out across Iran in September after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in the custody of Iran’s so-called morality police.
At least 519 protesters have been killed and nearly 20,000 have been arrested in the past three months, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that has monitored the protests.
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Pope Francis condemned the executions on Monday, saying in his New Year’s address that the death penalty “only fuels the thirst for vengeance.”
“The right to life is also threatened in those places where the death penalty continues to be imposed, as is the case in these days in Iran, following the recent demonstrations demanding greater respect for the dignity of women,” Pope Francis said on Monday.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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