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Updated December 8th, 2022 at 22:32 IST

Who was Mohsen Shekari? The first person executed by Iran amid anti-hijab protests

Iran has announced that it has carried out the first execution of an anti-hijab protester. It was a man named Moshen Shekari and he was convicted of moharebeh.

Reported by: Sagar Kar
Shekari
Image: Twitter@azad40959880/ANI | Image:self
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Iran has carried out the first execution of an anti-hijab protester. It was a man named Moshen Shekari and he was convicted of  "moharebeh", which in Persian means "enmity against God". He faced trial in front of Iran's revolutionary court and he was held guilty without any due process, as per a report from BBC news. 

He allegedly wounded a member of Iranian paramilitary i.e. the Basij, with a machete in Tehran, back in September, whilst blocking a road in the city. According to a report from the Guardian, Iranian state believes he used the weapon “with the intention of killing, causing terror and disturbing the order and security of society". Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the director of the Norway-based group Iran Human Rights, reportedly said that if Iran is not punished for the execution, then it will carry out mass execution of protestors. According to the Mizan news agency, Moshen Shekari had blocked Sattar Khan Street in Tehran on 25th September. The court found him guilty on 1st November and he appealed against the verdict on 20th November. His appeal was rejected. 

Shekari did not get a fair trial, claims Iran Human Rights

Iran Human Rights has reportedly said that he was denied access to a lawyer during the interrogation and trial phase. 10 more people have been sentenced to death, according to the BBC news report. In recent years, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been criticised for its high number of executions, many of which are carried out in violation of international law and human rights standards. These executions are often carried out in response to political opposition, which is considered punishable offenses under Iran's strict interpretation of Islamic law.

One example of Iran's use of the death penalty is the case of Navid Afkari, a 27-year-old wrestler who was sentenced to death in September 2020 for his involvement in anti-government protests in 2018. Despite widespread international condemnation and calls for clemency, Afkari was executed in September 2020, drawing further criticism of Iran's human rights record. Another example is the case of Rouhollah Zam, a journalist and political activist who was sentenced to death in December 2020 for his involvement in organizing anti-government protests. Zam's sentence was criticized by human rights organizations and journalists' groups, who argued that it was politically motivated and a violation of his right to freedom of expression.

What is "moharebeh"?

Moharebeh, also known as "waging war against God," is a crime under Iranian law that is punishable by death. The term is derived from the Arabic word "Muharib," which means "one who wages war against God." In the context of Iranian law, the crime of Moharebeh is defined as the act of committing violence or rebellion against the state or the Islamic regime, with the intention of disrupting the social order or overthrowing the government. The philosophical and theological roots of the crime of Moharebeh can be traced back to Islamic jurisprudence. In Islamic jurisprudence, Moharebeh is considered a grave offense as it involves defying the authority of God and the state, and undermining the social order.

As such, those who are found guilty of Moharebeh are typically sentenced to death, as it is considered a form of "hirabah," or rebellion against God. In addition to its philosophical and theological roots, the crime of Moharebeh also has political and social implications. In Iran, the use of the death penalty for Moharebeh has been criticised by human rights groups and others as a tool for suppressing political opposition and silencing dissent. Many of those who have been sentenced to death for Moharebeh have been activists, journalists, and other individuals who have criticised the government or spoken out against its policies.

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Published December 8th, 2022 at 21:58 IST

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