Iran said Monday it executed a second prisoner detained and convicted amid nationwide protests challenging the country's theocracy, airing footage on state television it claimed showed him stabbing two men to death and running away. The public hanging of Majidreza Rahnavard, less than a month after he allegedly carried out the fatal stabbings of two security officials on Nov. 17, shows the speed at which Iran now carries out death sentences handed down for those detained in the demonstrations the government hopes to put down, the AP reports. The first prisoner was hanged just days ago.
Activists warn that at least a dozen people already have been sentenced to death in closed-door hearings. At least 488 people have been killed since the demonstrations began in mid-September, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that's been monitoring the protests. Another 18,200 people have been detained by authorities. Mashhad, the Shiite holy city where the fatal stabbings allegedly took place, is located some 460 miles east of the Iranian capital, Tehran. Activists say it has seen strikes, shops closed, and demonstrations amid the unrest that began over the Sept. 16 death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who had been detained by Iran's morality police.
Iran's Mizan news agency said Rahnavard was convicted in Mashhad's Revolutionary Court. The tribunals have been internationally criticized for not allowing those on trial to pick their own lawyers or even see the evidence against them. Rahnavard had been convicted on the charge of “moharebeh,” a Farsi word meaning “waging war against God.” That charge has been levied against others in the decades since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and carries the death penalty. Amnesty International has said it obtained a document signed by one senior Iranian police commander asking that the execution for one prisoner be "completed 'in the shortest possible time' and that his death sentence be carried out in public as ‘a heart-warming gesture towards the security forces.'"