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Iran’s top court to grant retrial to anti-government protesters

Iran's Supreme Court has granted a retrial to three young men who had faced the death penalty for their role in anti-government protests in 2019. The announcement comes four months after their sentences were suspended.

By: Deutsche Welle | Iran | December 6, 2020 2:00:34 pm
More than 1,000 protesters were arrested in November 2019. (Via DW/AFP/A.Kenare)

Three men linked to Iran’s anti-government protest movement will have their sentences reviewed by the country’s Supreme Court, state news agency IRNA has reported.

“A request to retry the three sentenced to death over the [November] incidents was accepted,” Iran’s top court said on its official website on Saturday.

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“The case will be reviewed in another tribunal,” it added, without elaborating further on the decision.

The court did not say when the trial would take place, nor did it identify the men, but it referred to three defendants who had their sentences suspended this summer.

Cases drew worldwide condemnation

The three men are Amirhossein Moradi, a 26-year-old employee of a cellphone retailer; Said Tamjidi, a 28-year-old student; and Mohammad Rajabi, also 26. All were sought for criminal charges in connection with anti-government protests that took place in November 2019.

The demonstrations were sparked when the government unexpectedly announced that it would ration fuel and increase its price by at least 50%. The protests saw gas pumps torched, police stations attacked and shops looted.

Over 1,000 demonstrators were arrested, while some 200 and 400 people were believed to have been killed and thousands injured.

The three young men were accused of having helped vandalize and set fire to banks, buses and public buildings during the demonstrations. Prosecutors also accused them of having videos of the alleged crimes recorded on their phones.

But their cases drew condemnation worldwide, especially as they faced the death penalty. Human rights activists had said the death sentences handed to them were aimed at intimidating future protesters.

The judiciary’s decision to suspend the sentences in July was considered a rare move by Iran’s Supreme Court, paving the way for the appeal that led to Saturday’s retrial decision.

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