The Iranian regime hanged a political prisoner at dawn today in central Iran. Mostafa Salehi was detained during protests in Isfahan two years ago.
The 30-year-old man was transferred to a solitary cell on Monday. He was charged with killing a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps during protests. Mostafa Salehi maintained his innocence until his execution.
“Bring witnesses or at least check security cameras,” he had told the court.
Tortured to confess
Despite facing persistent pressure and enduring long periods of torture while he was held at the Isfahan Police Department, during interrogations by the Isfahan Intelligence Agency, Salehi refused to confess, as the Najafabad (Isfahan) prosecutor later confirmed. No weapons, ammunition, or other evidence were found. He pleaded not guilty in court.
A source told Javaneha human rights website, that Mostafa’s hand and both legs had been broken during interrogations. Agents also used needles to puncture under his nails.
“The tortures were so severe that his neck and spinal cord became injured. They tortured him to confess but he never did,” the source said.
According to the source, Mostafa’s family were told to stay silent and that “it would be bad for Mostafa” if they talked to anyone about his plight.
“His family stayed silent, but in the end they still executed him,” the source added.
The human rights website said that Mostafa was the father of a 6 year old boy and a 4 year old girl.
Faulty legal process
Fars state-run News Agency announced the execution and claimed that Mostafa was “one of the main elements” behind the December 2017-January 2018 protests in Kahrizsang in Isfahan’s Najaf Abad area.
Mostafa Salehi was detained in January 2018 during protests in Kahrizsang and was transferred to Isfahan’s Dastgerd Prison after interrogations.
He was tried in the 1st Branch of the Isfahan Penal Court and was charged with killing Sajad Shah Sanaie, an IRGC agent, and beating and injuring six other people.
According to a person close to Mostafa, he was initially cleared of the charges brought against him in court and was told he would be released but the case was reopened upon pressure from the IRGC Intelligence Department.
The unidentified person said that Mostafa was innocent.
“He did not accept the charges in court and there was no substantial evidence against him,” the person said.
Death row protesters
Some sources say the protesters, Mehdi Salehi Ghale Shahrokhi, Mohammad Bastami, Majid Nazari Kondori, Hadi Kiani, and Abbas Mohammadi have each received two death sentences on charges of “waging war against God” and “baghi” (taking up arms against the government).
According to the indictment issued by Isfahan’s Revolutionary Court, the five Iranian protesters have been charged with “Baghi through effective efforts and activities to advance the goals of the rioters”, “waging war against God through the use of firearms and the intention to disrupt security and shoot at officers” and “corruption on earth by disrupting public security and leading rioters to disrupt public order and security and disturb public opinion.”
The five men, all in their 20s, told the court that they were tortured to make confessions.
December 2017 – January 2018 protests
On December 28, 2017, protests broke out in the northeastern city of Mashhad against the state of the economy. The protests spread to almost all Iranian cities in 2018 including the capital Tehran. According to human rights groups, around 40 protesters were killed and at least 10,000 people were detained.