Iran’s Judiciary Spokesperson announced in a news conference on February 16 that death sentences were issued for three “offenders”.
In remarks carried by the state-run IRIB News Agency, Gholamhossein Esmaeli stressed that the judiciary’s red line was to provide “security” for citizens, and referred to the offenders as “thugs”.
Esmaeli announced that the death sentences for the three “offenders” were not yet final. According to him, one had attacked a group of people with a sword and a machete, and another was accused of being in contact with the “Monafeqin” and trying to enter a state building. The regime uses “Monafeqin” or hypocrites to refer to the PMOI. He said the third offender had engaged in an armed robbery with a knife.
He did not provide any details or evidence to back up his claims. The regime has a history of pinning crimes on its opponents and ordinary Iranians and uses torture and forced confessions to incriminate them in court.
“Providing security for citizens is the state’s duty, and we have announced that acting against the security of citizens is our red line,” Esmaeli said. He added that “thugs that endanger citizens” will not be tolerated.
The regime has sentenced many dissidents and protesters long prison terms and lashes for “acting against national security”.
“It has been stressed to the police to deal decisively with thugs, and the judiciary are also told to handle these cases immediately by issuing decisive and deterrent sentences,” the judiciary official said.
Esmaeli also claimed three other “thugs” who were “instigated by anti-revolutionary groups” were sentenced to 8-10 years of prison for “entering state buildings and destroying equipment”.
The identities of the six men or women was not revealed.
Iran officials sometimes use the term “thugs” to refer to protesters and dissidents.
The regime has carried out various “plans” to deal with what they call “thugs, hooligans and troublemakers” in the past decades. Though the official motive behind the crackdown is crime prevention, these measures are politically motivated and designed to intimidate and subdue Iranians to prevent protests against the regime’s absolute rule.
According to state-media reports published in the 1990s, following major protests in the northeastern city of Mashhad and Tehran’s Eslamshahr, the regime’s security institutions reached the conclusion that “thugs” were important players in protests.