The head of Iran’s judiciary has said that convicts sentenced to death in connection with anti-government protests will have their sentences implemented “without any delay,” amid international outrage over a rise in the number of executions.
In a speech in Tehran on May 30, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei also urged security and intelligence agencies to arrest women who are flouting mandatory hijab rules and to hand them over to the judicial authorities for “severe punishment.”
Iranian authorities have cracked down hard on months of nationwide protests sparked by the September death of Mahsa Amini while in police custody. Amini had been arrested in Tehran for allegedly wearing a headscarf improperly.
Security forces killed more than 520 people during demonstrations and unlawfully detained over 20,000 others, activists say. Following biased trials, the judiciary has handed down stiff sentences to protesters.
The Islamic Republic has already executed seven people in connection with the protests. The execution of three men on May 19 sparked widespread outrage inside and outside Iran, with rights groups and several governments criticizing the authorities for conducting hasty trials, forcing "confessions" and denying the accused due process.
On May 23, Amnesty International raised “grave” concern that at least seven other people are at grave risk of execution after being unjustly convicted in connection with protests, while dozens of others face capital punishment.
Human rights groups say the Islamic Republic has escalated executions in recent weeks to try to instill fear in society.
Mohseni Ejei responded to the criticism by claiming that the judicial processes fully adhere to “legal standards” and to the principles of “justice and fairness.”
The brutal repression unleashed by the Islamic Republic has largely succeeded in quelling the months-long protest movement. But acts of civil disobedience have continued, with many women appearing in public without headscarf.
Mohseni Ejei claimed that these acts against "chastity" are “orchestrated by the enemy who seek to undermine Islam and the Islamic Revolution."