Iran has executed three men accused of deadly violence during massive anti-government protests that engulfed the country last year.
Saeed Yaqoubi, 37, Saleh Mirhashemi, 36, and Majid Kazemi, 30, were accused of killing three people last November in Isfahan, about 210 miles south of Tehran. They were executed Friday morning, Mizan News Agency reported.
The execution took place at Dastgerd Prison in Isfahan, despite intense pressure and condemnation from human rights organizations in Iran and abroad, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency.
Human rights groups claim Iranian authorities forced the three men into confessions following torture and unfair trials.
Calling the incident part of a “terrifying trend,” Human Rights Watch said the men were convicted “after grossly unfair trials on charges of ‘enmity against God’ (moharebeh), which authorities have alleged is linked to the death of three law enforcement agents” — one police officer and two members of the Basij paramilitary group in Isfahan.
“The prosecution relied on forced ‘confessions,’ and the indictment was riddled with irregularities that reveal this was a politically motivated case,” Hadi Ghaemi, the executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran, a New York-based nonprofit, said in a statement.
On Thursday, Robert Malley, the U.S. special envoy to Iran, called the then-imminent execution “an affront to the human rights and basic dignity of all Iranians [which] shows the regime has learned nothing from the protests.”
The men were arrested in November amid nationwide protests sparked by the death of an Iranian Kurdish woman in September.
Mahsa Amini, 22, died after she was arrested by Iran’s morality police for allegedly violating the country’s dress code. U.S. authorities said she was accused of “improperly wearing a hijab in compliance with religiously grounded laws.”
Her death sparked demonstrations across Iran, which were met with a “deadly crackdown,” according to Amnesty International.
Approximately 19,000 people were arrested during the protests, which are believed to have killed more than 500 civilians and members of the security forces.