Iran: Public execution of Majidreza Rahnavard exposes authorities’ revenge killings

Responding to the Iranian authorities’ public execution today of Majidreza Rahnavard, a young man sentenced to death, after a sham unfair trial, in connection with ongoing nationwide protests, Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

“The horrific public execution of Majidreza Rahnavard today exposes Iran’s judiciary for what it is: a tool of repression sending individuals to the gallows to spread fear and exacting revenge on protesters daring to stand up to the status quo. The arbitrary execution of Majidreza Rahnavard less than two weeks after his only court hearing lays bare the extent of the Iranian authorities’ assault on the right to life and their disregard for even maintaining a façade of meaningful judicial proceedings.

“We urge the international community to take all necessary measures to pressure the Iranian authorities to stop executions and quash death sentences.

Amnesty International further urges all states to exercise universal jurisdiction over all officials reasonably suspected of criminal responsibility for crimes under international law and other grave violations of human rights.”


Majidreza Rahnavard’s unfair trial consisted of just one session before a ‘Revolutionary Court’ in Mashhad, Khorasan-e Razavi province, on 29 November. He was charged with “enmity against God” (moharebeh).

The authorities accused him of fatally stabbing two Basij agents in Mashhad on 17 November. Before his court session, state media broadcast videos of Majidreza Rahnavard giving forced “confessions”. His heavily bandaged left arm could be seen in a cast, raising serious concerns that he was subjected to torture.

Amnesty International has identified 20 people at risk of execution in connection with the protests. They include:

  • 11 individuals sentenced to death: Sahand Nourmohammad-Zadeh; Mahan Sadrat (Sedarat) Madani; Manouchehr Mehman Navaz; Mohammad Boroughani; Mohammad Ghobadlou; Saman Seydi (Yasin); Hamid Ghare Hasanlou; Mohammad Mehdi Karami; Sayed Mohammad Hosseini; Hossein Mohammadi; andan unnamed individual in Alborz province.
  • Three individuals who have undergone trials on capital charges and who are either at risk of being sentenced to death or may have already been sentenced to death, with no publicly available information on their status:  Saeed Shirazi; Abolfazl Mehri Hossein Hajilou; and Mohsen Rezazadeh Gharegholou.
  • Six individuals who may be awaiting or undergoing trial on charges carrying the death penalty: Akbar Ghafari; Toomaj Salehi; Ebarhim Rigi; Amir Nasr Azadani; Saleh Mirhashemi; and Saeed Yaghoubi.

The horrific public execution of Majidreza Rahnavard today exposes Iran’s judiciary for what it is: a tool of repression sending individuals to the gallows to spread fear…

Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International

Thousands have been arrested and indicted, raising fears that many more people could face the death penalty in connection to protests.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the individual, or the method used by the state to carry out the execution. The death penalty is a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.