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The New Arab Staff

Internet disrupted in Iran after rare online anti-death penalty campaign over planned execution of protesters

Iran executed around 251 people last year, the second highest number after China [Getty]

Date of publication: 15 July, 2020

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Iran experienced internet disruptions after an online campaign against Iran's death penalty went viral.
Iran experienced significant internet disruptions on Tuesday after an online protest against the executions of three men who participated in anti-government protests last November, according to internet monitoring organisation NetBlocks.

Saeed Tamjidi, 26, Amirhossein Moradi, 26, and Mohammed Rajabi, 28, were arrested in November 2019 during widespread protests in Iran that erupted over a petrol price hike amid an economy choked off by US sanctions.

The men were arrested on charges of "taking part in destruction and burning, aimed at countering the Islamic Republic of Iran", according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Iran's judiciary upheld the three men's death sentences on Tuesday, a decision that led to an outcry from rights groups and internet users.

In a rare protest against the death penalty, a Farsi hashtag that translates to #DontExecute, as well as the English-language hashtag #StopExecutionsInIran soon went viral.

On Tuesday, NetBlocks found a "significant disruption" to internet access in Iran, which reduced service quality for approximately three hours on multiple providers as the hashtags went viral.

Amnesty International found Iran's security forces killed at least 304 people during the protests, with over 220 deaths over the span of two days alone. At least 23 children were among those killed.

Moradi was arrested in November, according to HRW which found that authorities severely beat him in detention.

Moradi suffers from psoriasis, an autoimmune disease, and had to be hospitalised due to his condition.

Tamjidi and Rajabi, who were arrested in December, were also subjected to physical abuse by authorities.

In addition to allegations of torture, rights groups found the men to have had restricted access to their lawyers and forced into producing coerced confessions.

Iran has issued a string of death sentences in recent weeks.

On Tuesday, Iranian state TV reported that authorities executed two men convicted of a 2010 bombing at a military parade in northwestern Iran that killed 12 spectators.

Also on Tuesday, Iran's judiciary announced the execution of an Iranian national convicted of spying for the US.

Last week, Iranian authorities executed a man who was sentenced to death for drinking alcohol.

The Islamic Republic executed around 251 people last year, the second highest number after China, according to Amnesty International.

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