Tehran hardens its tone on the wearing of the veil, the UN denounces “state murders”

Iran on Tuesday threatened to “firmly” punish those who break the strict law on the wearing of the veil in its crackdown on protests and announced a new death penalty sentence, the UN denouncing the use of capital punishment confining to the death penalty. “state murder”.

Protests have rocked the country since the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurd, detained for violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code.

Since then, more and more women have been seen bareheaded in the street or in cars, without prompting a reaction from the police.

In early January, local media reported that the police had resumed monitoring the wearing of the hijab in cars, texting their owners if the woman driving the car violated the veil, without threatening sanctions.

But the Iranian judicial authority announced on Tuesday that it wanted to reapply a law providing for severe sanctions, such as exile, for people who do not respect the obligation to wear the veil.

“The police recently received a directive from the public prosecutor ordering them to act firmly against any violation of wearing the veil,” said Abdolsamad Khoramabadi, the deputy public prosecutor, quoted by the Mehr news agency.

In this context, “the courts must condemn the offenders, in addition to a fine, to additional penalties (…) such as exile, the prohibition to exercise a certain profession and the closure of the workplace” , added Mr. Khoramabadi.

These penalties are applicable to anyone who does not respect the compulsory wearing of the veil, such as an unveiled woman or a restaurant owner who welcomes a client without a hijab.

Justice recently ordered the closure of several cafes and restaurants for having welcomed unveiled customers.

– New conviction –

Ignoring the international outcry over recent executions of protesters, an Iranian judiciary on Tuesday announced a death sentence against a man for his alleged involvement in the protests, the Judicial Authority’s Mizan Online reported.

Tehran has already executed four people accused of taking part in the protests that are rocking the country.

The court sentenced Javad Rouhi to death in particular for “corruption on earth”, “apostasy by desecration of the Koran by burning it” and “destruction and burning of public property”, he said.

This death sentence brings to 18 the number of people sentenced to death in connection with the protest, according to a count established by AFP from official announcements. Among them, four have already been executed.

Iranian authorities generally refer to the protests as “riots” encouraged by countries and organizations hostile to Iran.

Javad Rouhi, whose age has not been specified, was sentenced for being “the leader of a group of rioters” in Noshahr (north), Mizan Online said.

In early January, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentences of two men in connection with the protests. They therefore no longer have any recourse and can be executed at any time.

– “State murder” –

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk in his offices in Geneva, January 4, 2023 (AFP/Archives – Fabrice COFFRINI)

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, on Tuesday slammed the death penalty sentences against protesters to scare the Iranian population and silence the protest, which borders on the “murder of State”.

These executions are “arbitrary deprivations of life”, insisted Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the High Commission during a press briefing in Geneva.

“The UN is against the death penalty in all circumstances,” recalled Ms. Shamdasani, who denounced in the case of the executed Iranians “a lack of respect for procedures, accusations which are completely fallacious and which make no sense” .

“These are accusations of corruption on Earth and war against God, which are formulated in a very vague way”, she insisted, also mentioning “serious allegations of torture and ill-treatment, humiliating treatment before their executions”.

According to the Oslo-based NGO Iran Human Rights (IHR), the crackdown in Iran has left at least 476 people dead, while several thousand people have been arrested.

“I reiterate once again my call on the Iranian government to respect the life and voice of its people, impose an immediate moratorium on the death penalty and end all executions,” underlined Mr. Türk.

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