iran protest syria
Women carry pictures during a protest over the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in Iran, in the Kurdish-controlled city of Qamishli, northeastern Syria September 26, 2022. Image Credit: Reuters file

TEHRAN: Iran carried out its first known execution on Thursday over protests sparked by Mahsa Amini’s death, hanging a man convicted of blocking a street and wounding a paramilitary member.

Demonstrations have swept Iran for nearly three months since Amini died after her arrest by the morality police in Tehran for an alleged breach of the country’s hijab dress code for women.

“Mohsen Shekari, a rioter who blocked Sattar Khan Street in Tehran on September 25 and wounded one of the security guards with a machete, was executed this morning,” the judiciary’s Mizan Online website said.

The revolutionary court in Tehran heard Shekari had been arrested after striking the member of the Basij paramilitary force in the shoulder with the blade, an injury that required 13 stitches, Mizan Online said.

The judiciary said Shekari was found guilty of fighting and drawing a weapon “with the intention of killing, causing terror and disturbing the order and security of society”.

It convicted him of “moharebeh” - or waging “war against God” under Iran’s Islamic sharia law - on November 1, said Mizan, adding that he appealed the ruling but the supreme court upheld it on November 20.

The protests broke out over the September 16 death in custody of Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian of Kurdish origin, after her arrest in Tehran for an alleged breach of the Islamic republic’s dress code for women.

Women, university students and schoolgirls have led the demonstrations, removing and burning their headscarves in the streets, chanting anti-government slogans and confronting the security forces.

Iran, which has struggled to contain the protests, describes them as “riots” fomented by its arch foe the United States and its allies, including Britain and Israel.

Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights said the security forces have responded with a crackdown that has killed at least 458 people, including 63 children, in an updated toll issued Wednesday.

The crackdown, which has drawn widespread international criticism, has also seen thousands of people arrested, including academics, journalists and lawyers.

The United Nations Human Rights Council on November 24 voted to create a high-level investigation into the crackdown, a move that Iran rejected and said violates its national sovereignty.

The Basij is a state-sanctioned volunteer force that is linked to Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

An Iranian court on Tuesday sentenced five people to death by hanging for killing a Basij member.

The judgement brought to 11 the number of people sentenced to death in connection with the protests, in what London-based rights group Amnesty International has branded “sham trials”.