GENEVA: As global condemnation of Iran’s execution of protesters intensified, the country on Tuesday decided to “firmly punish” people who violate the hijab law.
The United Nations Human Rights Office in Geneva condemned the executions in Iran and said they amounted to state-sanctioned killing.
Tehran has executed four people in connection with nearly four months of demonstrations in the country, with two more executions scheduled imminently and at least 17 other individuals reportedly sentenced to death, the UN Human Rights Office said.
It also said the country is “weaponising” the death penalty to frighten people and crush dissent.
“Criminal proceedings and the death penalty are being weaponised by the Iranian government to punish individuals participating in protests and to strike fear into the population so as to stamp out dissent, in violation of international human rights law,” UN rights chief Volker Turk’s office said.
Judiciary orders police to ‘firmly punish’ hijab violators
Iran has been rocked by a wave of protests since the death in custody on September 16 of Kurdish Iranian Mahsa Amini, 22, following her arrest for allegedly violating Iran’s strict dress code for women.
“The weaponisation of criminal procedures to punish people for exercising their basic rights — such as those participating in or organising demonstrations — amounts to state-sanctioned killing,” Mr Turk said.
“The government of Iran would better serve its interests and those of its people by listening to their grievances, and by undertaking the legal and policy reforms necessary to ensure respect for diversity of opinion, the rights to freedom of expression and assembly, and the full respect and protection of the rights of women in all areas of life.”
The UN Human Rights Office said it had received information that two further executions are imminent — that of 19-year-old Mohammad Boroughani, and Mohammad Ghobadiou, 22.
“I reiterate once more my call to the government of Iran to respect the lives and voices of its people, to impose an immediate moratorium on the death penalty and to halt all executions,” Mr Turk said.
“Iran must take sincere steps to embark on the reforms that are required and demanded by their own people for the respect and protection of their human rights.”
On Tuesday, Iran’s judiciary ordered the police to “firmly punish” people who violate the country’s hijab law, a news agency reported.
On Tuesday, Mehr news agency reported that the prosecutor general had issued a directive in which “police were ordered to firmly punish any hijab violations”.
“Courts must sentence the violators, as well as fine them, to additional penalties such as exile, bans on practising certain professions and closing workplaces,” it quoted the judiciary as saying.
Iran has executed four people over the protests sparked by Amini’s death in the custody of the morality police. Another 13 have been sentenced to death, and six have been granted retrials.
Authorities say hundreds of people, including security personnel, have been killed and thousands arrested in connection with the protests, which they generally describe as “riots”.
In recent weeks the judiciary has closed several cafes and restaurants for serving bare-headed women.
Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2023