Paying the ultimate price for dissidence 

Iranian government yesterday publicly executed a dissident and protester for challenging the country’s theocratic government, making it the second person in a roll to face such brutal death in the past week. 

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Majidreza Rahnavard was convicted and sentenced to death for allegedly stabbing two members of the paramilitary Basij Force-an affiliate of the dreaded Revolutionary Guards- which has been at the forefront of Iran’s crackdown on protesters following the death of Mahsa Amini earlier in September.

Photos released by state-owned media, Mizan news Agency showed Rahnavard’s body hanging from a construction crane with his hands and feet bound and a black bag covering his head. 

The gruesome killing passes as a warning to others and underscores the speed at which Iran is ready to execute death sentences passed on those detained in the demonstration that the government hopes to quail.  

According to Mizan news agency, Rahnavard was tried by a Revolutionary Court in Mashhad and convicted on charges of “Moharebeh” a Farci word meaning “waging war against God.” This same charge, which attracts the death penalty, has been levied against many others in the past since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.  

During the secret trial, Rahnavard was denied access to a lawyer to challenge the evidence against him or request a public trial. A video aired by Mizan after his execution showed Rahnavard telling the court that he had come to hate the Basij forces after seeing them beating and killing protesters in videos posted on social media. 

There’s been a public outcry against the gruesome killing. The European Union’s Foreign Minister while expressing dismay at the latest execution approved a series of sanctions against Iran for its crackdown on protesters and for also supplying drones to Russia for use in the war in Ukraine. 

“These harsh sentences…are meant to intimidate Iran’s people, they’re meant to suppress dissent and they simply just underscore how much the Iranian leadership fears its people” US state department Spokesperson Ned Price said in his condemnation of the killing. 

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