Iran on Sunday halted the execution of three young men arrested during protests against the regime in November, one of the accused’s lawyers revealed.
“We conveyed a request (for a retrial) to the supreme court and they have accepted it. We hope the verdict will be overturned,” Babak Paknia said over the phone, AFP reports.
Iran’s Supreme Court upheld their death sentences as recently as Tuesday, triggering an enormous international outcry and the creation of a #StopExecutionsInIran social media hashtag that accumulated millions of posts, including a contribution from President Donald Trump.
Three individuals were sentenced to death in Iran for participating in protests. The execution is expected momentarily. Executing these three people sends a terrible signal to the world and should not be done! #StopExecutionsInIran
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2020
The Persian hashtag #do_not_execute was used another five million times.
The accused are Amirhossein Moradi, 26 and working at a cellphone retailer, Said Tamjidi, a 28-year-old student, and Mohammad Rajabi, also 26.
The three men, all in their mid-20s, were arrested during the huge anti-regime protests last year that were triggered by a 300 percent hike in gasoline prices.
Over 7,000 other protesters were arrested, and human rights groups believe at least 300 were killed outright by Iranian security forces and paramilitary death squads.
The three were convicted in one of Iran’s notorious “closed trials” on charges of sabotage, subversion, and armed robbery, the latter allegation based on Moradi supposedly trying to steal a camera from a security officer, as Breitbart News reported.
They were also charged with trying to illegally flee the country to escape justice, as two of them sought asylum in Turkey but were quickly deported back to Iran.
“We are very hopeful that the verdicts will be overturned… considering that one of the judges at the supreme court had opposed the verdicts before,” the four lawyers representing the accused said in a statement published by state news agency IRNA.
Iran is the world’s second most prolific state executioner after China.
Despite having to deal with the Middle East’s biggest outbreak of coronavirus, which has killed more than 13,000 people and deepened an economic crisis, the Iranian authorities have not stopped trying capital cases and carrying out death sentences.