Iran Sentences Police Officer to Death for Killing Man During 2022 Protests

Protests following the killing of Samak in the city of Bandar Anzali (Fars news agency)
Protests following the killing of Samak in the city of Bandar Anzali (Fars news agency)
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Iran Sentences Police Officer to Death for Killing Man During 2022 Protests

Protests following the killing of Samak in the city of Bandar Anzali (Fars news agency)
Protests following the killing of Samak in the city of Bandar Anzali (Fars news agency)

An Iranian court has sentenced a police chief in northern Iran to death after he was charged with the killing of a man during the widespread demonstrations sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini in 2022, local media reported Wednesday.

Rights groups based outside of Iran said Mehran Samak, 27, was shot dead by Iranian security forces after honking his car horn in celebration of Iran's loss to the United States in the 2022 World Cup held in Qatar.

According to AFP, Samak succumbed to injuries he sustained after being hit by shotgun pellets during a rally in the northern city of Bandar Anzali on Nov. 30, 2022.

Local police chief Jafar Javanmardi was arrested in December 2022 following Samak’s death. At the time, the lawyer for the victim's family, Majid Ahmadi, said that the police official was charged with “violating the rules for firearms usage, resulting in the death of Samak.”

He said this is the third time a military court sentences the official to death “in accordance with the Islamic law of retribution, known as the 'qisas' law.”

In mid-January, the judiciary's Mizan Online website said the Supreme Court had annulled two initial death sentences and referred Javanmardi’s case to another court.

At the time, Gilan province, where Bandar Anzali is located, was a flashpoint of the nationwide protest movement that shook Iran after Amini, 22, died in custody in September 2022 following her arrest for allegedly violating the country's strict dress code for women.

On March 8, a report by the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission said Iran’s “repression of peaceful protests” and “institutional discrimination against women and girls” has led to human rights violations, some of which amount to crimes against humanity.

“The mission has established that many of the serious human rights violations amount to crimes against humanity – specifically those of murder; imprisonment; torture; rape and other forms of sexual violence; persecution; enforced disappearance and other inhumane acts,” it said.

The Fact-Finding Mission also found that Tehran arbitrarily executed at least nine young men from December 2022 to January 2024, after summary trials which relied on confessions extracted under torture and ill-treatment.

Credible figures suggest that as many as 551 protesters were killed by the security forces, among them at least 49 women and 68 children. Most deaths were caused by firearms, including assault rifles.



Stockholm Accuses Iran of Using Criminals in Sweden to Target Israel

A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
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Stockholm Accuses Iran of Using Criminals in Sweden to Target Israel

A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo

Sweden's domestic security agency on Thursday accused Iran of using established criminal networks in Sweden as a proxy to target Israeli or Jewish interests in the Scandinavian country.
The accusations were raised at a news conference by Daniel Stenling, the head of the SAPO agency's counterespionage unit, following a series of events earlier this year.
In late January, the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm was sealed off after what was then described as “a dangerous object” was found on the grounds of the diplomatic mission in an eastern Stockholm neighborhood. Swedish media said the object was a hand grenade.
The embassy was not evacuated and the object was eventually destroyed. No arrests were made and authorities did not say what was found. On May 17, gunshots were heard near the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm and the area was cordoned off. No one was arrested.
According to The Associated Press, Stenling said, without offering specifics or evidence to back up his assertion, that the agency "can establish that criminal networks in Sweden are used as a proxy by Iran.”
“It is very much about planning and attempts to carry out attacks against Israeli and Jewish interests, goals and activities in Sweden," he said and added that the agency sees "connections between criminal individuals in the criminal networks and individuals who are connected to the Iranian security services.”
Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer and Hampus Nygårds, deputy head of the Swedish police's National Operations Department, were also at the online news conference with Stenling.
“We see this connection between the Iranian intelligence services, the security services and precisely criminals in the criminal networks in Sweden," Stenling said. “We see that connection and it also means that we need to work much more internationally to get to the crimes and be able to prevent them.”
Stenling and the others made no mention of the recent incidents connected to the Israel Embassy and stopped short of naming any criminal groups or suspects.
Sweden has grappled with gang violence for years and criminal gangs often recruit teenagers in socially disadvantaged immigrant neighborhoods to carry out hits.
By May 15, police have recorded 85 shootings so far this year, including 12 fatal shootings. Last year, 53 people were killed and 109 were wounded in a total of 363 shootings.