The Islamic Republic of Iran’s execution of two more men handed capital punishment in connection with the ongoing nationwide protests has sparked widespread condemnation inside and outside the country.
Mohammad Mahdi Karami and Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini were hanged on January 7, Iran's judicial said, after they were found guilty of killing a member of the paramilitary Basij force during anti-establishment protests.
The executions brought to four the number of people executed so far in connection with the protest movement triggered by the September death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini following her arrest by morality police for allegedly violating the hijab law.
Amnesty International said that Karami’s sentence was based on forced confessions, while Hosseini’s lawyer said his client had been severely tortured while in custody.
Prominent Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh called the latest executions a “clear violation” of the law, pointing out that the two men did not have access to legal counsel of their choice.
"I offer my condolences to ourselves for having such incompetent rulers who murder [people] to take revenge from the nation's protest," Sotoudeh, who has been imprisoned for years, tweeted on January 8.
Lawyer Mohammad Hossein Aghasi said that Karami “did not have a legal counsel of his choice during the court sessions."
"The Supreme Court and chief justice agreed that I represent him, but the head of the court stood up against the law and claimed that only the judiciary's system chosen lawyer can enter," he wrote in a tweet.
EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said the bloc was "appalled" by the executions, calling them “another sign of the Iranian authorities' violent repression of civilian demonstrations.”
"The European Union calls once again on the Iranian authorities to immediately end the strongly condemnable practice of imposing and carrying out death sentences against protesters," Borrell's spokesperson said in a statement.
U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price condemned "in the strongest terms" what he called the "sham trials & execution" of the two men.
"These executions are a key component of the regime's effort to suppress protests. We continue to work with partners to pursue accountability for Iran's brutal crackdown," Price tweeted.
Two men were hanged in December for their involvement in the demonstrations amid global outrage and Western sanctions against the Islamic Republic over its brutal crackdown on the protest movement, which represents one of the most serious challenges to the theocracy installed by the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
More than 500 people have been killed by security forces and over 18,000 have been arrested since the eruption of the protests.