A series of trials linked to the recent protests will soon begin in Iran, amid expectations that hundreds of death sentences will be issued in a judicial system dominated by power and dedicated to the accused, according to the newspaper “Washington Post“.
The newspaper added that among the suspects expected to be sentenced to death is a young man who burned a garbage can during the protests and was charged with “fighting God”, which carries the death penalty in Iran.
It is also likely that the death sentence was issued against the two journalists who revealed the story of Mahsa Amini for the first time, after accusing them of working for the US intelligence without any evidence, according to the newspaper.
The newspaper notes that “this is what the justice system looks like in Iran, where the trials of protesters and even bystanders who were accidentally present in the places of protests and bloggers began.”
The Human Rights Activists News Agency (Hrana) estimates that more than 15,000 people have been arrested and hundreds killed during about two months of protests.
Hadi Enayat, a political sociologist who specializes in Iranian law, says that some detainees are released with a fine, and others are tried in a criminal court.
He adds that political prisoners usually face the dreaded Revolutionary Courts, a parallel system created to protect the Islamic Republic.
Revolutionary courts rely on a single judge rather than the panel of judges used in criminal courts. Judges are usually clerics or have been trained in a state-run university.
Likewise, political prisoners have rarely access to their lawyers or access to the evidence alleged against them.
Hossein Raisi, a former lawyer in Iran and current human rights professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, says the Intelligence Ministry and the intelligence wing of the IRGC are often involved in interrogations and evidence-gathering, in violation of Iranian law.
But he also noted that in times of turmoil, authorities forgo due process criminal procedures.
The protests, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was detained by the morality police because of her “improper clothing”, are one of the boldest challenges facing the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution. Women participated prominently in the protests, some brandishing and burning headscarves.
The Iranian government condemned the protests, describing them as riots sparked by opponents, including the United States, and said armed separatist groups were behind the violence.
On Friday, United Nations experts urged Iran to “stop the use of the death penalty as a tool to stamp out protests,” noting that eight people were charged with the death penalty in Tehran on October 29.