During the past week, Iran executed two rioters arrested during the recent unrest in the country. Mohsen Shekari and Majid Reza Rahnavard were hanged after they were found guilty of moharebeh or ‘waging war’ against God by the country’s Revolutionary Court.
On 25th September, Mohsen Shekari blocked a street in Tehran along with Ali, his partner in crime, causing heavy traffic. The two were carrying machetes in their hands with the intention of killing security officials and were forcing people to accompany them. When Shekari was approached by a security official, he attacked and injured him and tried to escape the scene. The police eventually arrested him.
Eyewitnesses present at the crime scene reported that around 150 cars had been stuck in traffic and people were frightened by the two men armed with machetes blocking the street.
On 20th November, the court convicted Shekari of moharebeh by “drawing a weapon with the intention of killing and causing fear and intimidation” and “intentionally wounding a basij official on duty with a cold weapon” and “blocking the Sattar Khan street in Tehran and creating disturbance in order and security of the society” and sentenced him to death penalty. His sentence was carried out on 8th December.
The second rioter who was executed this week was Majid Reza Rahnavard. On 17th November, he stabbed two security officials to death on Hor-e-Ameli street in Mashhad and attacked and injured four civilians on his way as he escaped the scene. The event spread fear among the people present at the scene, resulting in the shopkeepers closing their shops. Rahnavard was arrested on 19th November while trying to flee the country.
Rahnavard confessed to killing the two young basijis in the court and told the judge that he attacked “everyone who came his way” that day with a knife while trying to escape and that he “bereaved many families” through his act of “fratricide” and is awaiting his punishment.
Rahnavard was convicted of moharebeh and sentenced to death. He was hanged in public on 12th December.
There have been other instances in which the Iranian judiciary handed down death sentences when the offenders were found guilty of moharebeh through drawing weapons on people for robbery, the latest one this September.
In Islamic law, moharebeh is any act that involves drawing a weapon on people to cause fear, and a person who engages in such an act is considered an enemy of God and His Prophet (pbuh). It is a serious crime punishable by death.
Iran has witnessed three months of unrest following the death of a young girl in police custody. Along with calls for regime change by the mainstream media and foreign-based opposition, deadly riots took place in the country leaving 200 dead and thousands arrested.
However, within two months, more than 85% of those arrested in protests and riots had been freed and only those involved in endangering the lives of people and inflicting severe damage on public property are in detention awaiting trial.
An additional 1,200 detainees were also freed after the Iranian national team’s victory against Wales during the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.
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