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Mahsa Amini: Iran executes two more protesters amid ongoing crackdown

Mohammad Mahdi Karami and Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini had reportedly been held in inhuman conditions and denied access to lawyers
Mohammad Mahdi Karami, 21, an Iranian-Kurdish karate champion, was one of two protesters killed by Iranian authorities (Social Media)

Iran said it executed two men on Saturday after finding them guilty of killing a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's volunteer Basij force during the anti-government protests that have swept the country in recent months.

"Mohammad Mahdi Karami and Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini, the main perpetrators of the crime that led to the martyrdom of Ruhollah Ajamian, were hanged this morning," judicial news agency Mizan Online reported.

The latest hangings bring the number of people executed since the protests that followed the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman from the country's Kurdish region, to four.

Amini died on 16 September while being held in police custody after being arrested for allegedly wearing her mandatory hijab "inappropriately".

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A spokesperson for the European Union said it was "appalled" by the new executions.

"This is yet another sign of the Iranian authorities’ violent repression of civilian demonstrations," the spokesperson for EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said in a statement.

"The European Union calls once again on the Iranian authorities to immediately end the strongly condemnable practice of imposing and carrying out death sentences against protesters."

Confessions under torture

Mohammad Hossein Aghasi, a lawyer speaking for Karami but not allowed by Iranian authorities to represent his client, posted on Twitter on Saturday that Karami was not given final rights to speak to his family before his execution.

The lawyer added that Karami had also started a hunger strike from Wednesday to protest authorities not allowing Aghasi to represent him.

Karami, 21, was an Iranian-Kurdish karate champion who joined the national youth team and later won at the national championships.

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Last month Karami's parents posted a video to social media pleading with authorities to halt the execution. His father said: "My son is among the karate champions of Iran and has several national titles and was the fourth ranked member on Iran's national team… I beg of you to please lift the execution order."

Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini, 20, was remembered for volunteering with children by a German parliamentarian who advocated his case.

Lawyers representing Hosseini said he was beaten and had his feet and hands tied while in prison.

"Hosseini's confessions were made under torture and have no legal grounds," said Ali Sharifzadeh Ardakani on Twitter, adding that his client showed signs of being electrocuted.

Iran's Supreme Court upheld the sentence on 3 January.

Iran carried out its first execution related to the protests in early December of Mohsen Shekari, 23, who was hanged after a court convicted him for participating in protests and committing violence. 

The Iranian judiciary's Mizan Online website at the time reported that Shekari was "a rioter who blocked Sattar Khan Street in Tehran on 25 September and wounded one of the security guards with a machete".

Amnesty International said that Shekari's judicial proceedings "bore no resemblance to a meaningful trial".

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