Iran Sentences Kurdish Cleric to Death for Honoring Protester

Kurdish Sunni cleric Mohammad Khezrnejad has been sentenced to death for eulogizing a young man who was killed during the 2022 protests in Iran. The protests were sparked by the killing of Mahsa Amini by the Tehran “morality police,” according to Iranian human rights organizations. Khezrnejad was arrested in November 2022 for delivering a speech at the memorial ceremony of Asad Rahimi, a 30-year-old from Bukan who was killed during the protests. He expressed support for the protesters on various occasions and was charged with “spreading corruption on earth,” “harming the territorial integrity and independence of the country,” and “propaganda against the regime.” His trial was held over video conference and he was denied the right to access a lawyer. Khezrnejad was also abused during his detention and forced to make confessions. The protests, commonly referred to as the “Woman, Life, Liberty” protests, drew worldwide attention and were described by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as “the strongest, most dangerous, and most serious” demonstrations in the regime’s history.