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Iran executed second detainee over anti-theocracy protest

Iran executed a second prisoner who was detained during protests against the country's theocracy. The hanging came quickly after his alleged stabbings.

Iran executed a second prisoner on Monday who was detained and convicted during nationwide protests against the country's theocracy. 

Footage was aired on state television that the country claimed shows the man stabbing and killing two security force members before fleeing the scene.

The public hanging of Majidreza Rahnavard came less than a month after his alleged stabbings were carried out in frustration over security forces killing protesters. The short turnaround shows how quickly Iran is executing those detained in the demonstrations.

Activists said at least a dozen people have already been sentenced to death in closed-door hearings. Nearly 500 people have been killed since the demonstrations began in mid-September, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that has been monitoring the protests. An additional 18,200 people have been detained.


Iran's Mizan news agency, which is under the country's judiciary, claimed Rahnavard fatally stabbed two security force members and wounded four others on November 17 in the city of Mashhad. The agency said the execution was carried out Monday morning in Mashhad.

State TV aired footage showing a man chasing another around a street corner before then standing over him and stabbing him after he fell against a parked motorbike. The same man was also shown stabbing another man immediately after the first attack. The attacker then ran away from the scene.

Mizan identified the individuals killed as "student" Basij, paramilitary volunteers under Iran's Revolutionary Guard. The Basij have deployed in major cities and have attacked and detained protesters. In many cases, the demonstrators have fought back against the Basij.

A heavily edited state television report aired after Rahnavard's execution showed footage of him in the courtroom saying he started hating the Basijis after watching social media videos of the forces beating and killing protesters.

The Mizan report alleged that Rahnavard had attempted to flee to a foreign country when he was arrested.

Mashhad, a Shiite holy city activists say has been subject to strikes, closed shops amid demonstrations after Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, died in custody after she was detained by Iran's morality police.

According to Mizan, Rahnavard was convicted in Mashhad's Revolutionary Court. The tribunals have been criticized internationally for not allowing those on trial to select their own lawyers or see the evidence against them.

Rahnavard had been convicted on the charge of "moharebeh," a Farsi word meaning "waging war against God," which carries the death penalty.


Iran is one of the world’s top executioners and typically executes prisoners by hanging them. 

The country executed the first prisoner detained during demonstrations last Thursday.

Amnesty International has said it obtained a document signed by one senior Iranian police commander requesting that the execution for one prisoner be "completed ‘in the shortest possible time’ and that his death sentence be carried out in public as ‘a heart-warming gesture towards the security forces.’"

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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