An anti-regime protester accused of setting a wheelie bin on fire in Iran has been sentenced to death.
Accused Sahand Noormohammadzadeh, who claims he just went outside from his workplace to see what all the fuss about, was convicted of using a dangerous weapon, namely “a wheelie bin”, and blocking the street with the weapon – causing traffic delays and fear and insecurity among people.
He was sentenced to death by hanging by judge Ali Mazloum after a short trial at branch 29 of the Islamic Revolution Court in Tehran, the Iranian capital.
The court heard that the fire in the Sattar Khan neighbourhood of Tehran was seen as a confrontation with the Islamic government.
The intention – the court heard – was to commit crimes against the security of the country and disrupt public order and comfort through participation in illegal gatherings. They said that he had also fought with government agents when they tried to arrest him.
The prosecutor’s representative told the court: “Following the actions taken by Sahand Noormohammadzadeh, Ayatollah Ashrafi Esfahani highway has been blocked for some time and the passage of cars has been disrupted.
“Accused Noormohammadzadeh caused the blockage of the highway by tearing down the fences of the highway, setting fire to waste containers and tyres.”
Prosecutors defined this action as ‘moharebeh’ – waging war against God – where destroying and setting fire to public facilities was carried out in order to disrupt the order and security of the country.
The case judge reportedly told the accused: “You yourself saw that you set fire to the waste container in the images that were broadcast.”
But the defendant’s lawyer stated: “As we saw in the pictures, there was no picture of my client setting fire to a trash can or removing a fence.
“The burning of the waste container, which the prosecutor’s representative mentioned as a criminal act, was not seen in the video, and my client also denies this issue.”
There are two other defendants in the case, identified in reports as Behdad Iskandernjad and Ali Houshmandi. It is not yet clear what happened to them.
Iran’s judiciary has been accused of issuing harsh sentences – including death – against anti-regime protesters following fast-track trials as a form of ‘retribution’.
In the last few days, five other people have been sentenced to death for crimes ranging from blocking the streets to having similar weapons and violence.
It has also been accused of refusing to recognise the defendants as protesters and has instead been referring to them as “troublemakers”.
The ongoing protests in Iran, which began on 16th September, have claimed between 304 and 356 lives and injured at least 1,160, according to independent estimates.