Iran carries out second execution over alleged protest crime

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Iran said Monday it executed a second prisoner detained and convicted amid nationwide protests challenging the country’s theocracy, airing footage on state television it claimed shows him stabbing two security force members to death and running away.

The public hanging of Majidreza Rahnavard, less than a month after he allegedly carried out the fatal stabbings, shows the speed at which Iran now carries out death sentences handed down for those detained in the demonstrations the government hopes to put down.

Activists warn that at least a dozen people already have been sentenced to death in closed-door hearings. At least 488 people have been killed since the demonstrations began in mid-September, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that’s been monitoring the protests. Another 18,200 people have been detained by authorities.

Iran’s Mizan news agency, under the country’s judiciary, alleged Rahnavard had stabbed two security force members to death Nov. 17 in Mashhad and wounded four others.

Footage aired on state TV showed a man chasing another around a street corner, then standing over him and stabbing him after he fell against a parked motorbike. Another showed the same man stabbing another immediately after. The assailant, which state TV alleged was Rahnavard, then fled.

The Mizan report identified the dead as “student” Basij, paramilitary volunteers under Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. The Basij have deployed in major cities, attacking and detaining protesters, who in many cases have fought back.

A heavily edited state television report aired after Rahnavard’s execution showed clips of him in the courtroom. In the video, he says he came to hate the Basijis after seeing video clips on social media of the forces beating and killing protesters. Mashhad, a Shiite holy city, is located some 740 kilometers east of the Iranian capital, Tehran. Activists say it has seen strikes, shops closed and demonstrations amid the unrest that began over the Sept. —Agencies