The UK has summoned Iran’s foreign minister to London to protest the execution of Mohsen Shekari in the first known death sentence linked to recent anti-government protests.
The prisoner was executed on Thursday after being accused of wounding a security guard with a machete and blocking a street in Tehran.
Prior to the execution, state media released a video of what they said was Shekari’s confession – in which he admitted to hitting a member of the Basij militia with a knife and blocking a road with his motorbike alongside one of his friends.
In the video, Shekari appeared with a bruise on his right cheek. Rights groups said the protester was tortured and forced to confess.
UK Foreign Secretary james shrewdly instructed the FCDO to summon Mehdi Hosseini Matin, the Iranian Chargé d’Affaires in Britain, over the “heinous” execution by the country’s regime.
“He is a tragic victim of a justice system in which disproportionate sentences, politically motivated trials and forced confessions are commonplace,” Cleverly said in a statement.
“We have made our views clear to the Iranian authorities – Iran must immediately stop the executions and end the violence against its own people.”
In a meeting he had with Mr Matin, Vijay Rangarajan, managing director for the Middle East, highlighted the UK’s view of the execution as a grossly disproportionate action aimed at intimidating Iranians ordinary people and drown out dissenting voices.
He stressed that the UK opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and urged Iran immediately stop executions and death sentences.
Mass protests have spread across Iran since the death of a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini custody of the morality police on September 16.
Hundreds of protesters were killed and thousands imprisoned for demanding the overthrow of Iran’s clerical rulers.
The Iranian government would be blame the unrest on Kurdish separatistscalling it a “political conspiracy”, and accused foreign nations of inciting protests.