Iran's judiciary has charged three people with "waging war against God," a charge that could carry the death penalty, over the alleged killing of a member of the Basij paramilitary force during protests last year.
"Three of the defendants in this case have been charged with waging war against God by using cold weapons and acting against the national security of the country, while the other [six] defendants have been charged with collusion and gathering against the country's security," judiciary spokesperson Masoud Setayshi said on April 26.
The defendants include Milad Armon, Mehdi Hosseini, Mehdi Imani, Alireza Kefaei, Hossein Nemati, Mehdi Jahani, Behrad Hessari, Nestouh Nikkhah, and Mohammad Pasandian.
Authorities say Basij member Arman Alivardi was killed on November 5, 2022 during protests in Ekbatan Town, west of Tehran.
The commander of Tehran’s Revolutionary Guards announced the arrest of the nine defendants on November 7. All of them were later acquitted and released, except Armon.
It is not immediately clear which suspects are currently behind bars.
The Volunteer Committee to Follow-Up on the Situation of Detainees previously reported that all the suspects in the case were subjected to severe torture and forced confessions while in detention.
The authorities have cracked down hard on months of nationwide anti-government protests sparked by the September 2022 death of a young woman, Mahsa Amini, in police custody.
Security forces have killed more than 520 people and unlawfully detained over 20,000, activists say. Following biased trials, the judiciary handed down stiff sentences, including the death penalty, to protesters.