Top Sunni cleric slams execution in Iran, calls its violation of Sharia law

Iran’s top Sunni religious leader Molavi Abdolhamid criticised the executions of protesters in the country, calling it a violation of the Sharia law and further warning the government authorities that such extreme steps won’t stop the anti-government protests.

He specifically denounced the execution of the first protester, Mohsen Shekari, as he told the worshippers present in Zahedan that the movement “will not be extinguished by killing people”.

“The man’s execution was “incorrect” and against Sharia law,” the Sunni leader said. The young protester, Mohsen Shekari, was hanged on December 8 for wounding a security guard using a knife and blocking a street in Tehran.

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Abdolhamid said that the protester should not have been hanged for injuring a government security agent and blocking a street. The cleric added that Sharia includes lesser punishments even in the case of Shekari who was convicted for “fighting against God”.

The cleric also emphasised death sentences issued against five protesters who were charged with the government security agent’s killing, saying, “Where is it written in Sharia that for killing one Basij member five people should receive the death sentence, and in such a short time?”

Abdolhamid claimed that many innocent citizens have been killed by government agents since September, however, no one has been held accountable and no justice has been delivered.

“Executions in Iran had no precedent in Islam in any period. (Similar executions) did not take place during Prophet (Mohammed) or during the four senior Caliphs who succeeded him, including Imam Ali,” he said.

Various acts of defiance or opposition against the regime are considered by the Islamic Republic as “Moharebeh”, an Islamic-Arabic term which means enmity with God, and the maximum punishment under this charge is death, which is readily applied by the regime.

Last week, the cleric had warned the government against giving death sentences to protesters.

Iran has been facing demonstrations for almost three months over the death of Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in police custody after she was arrested by the country’s morality police for breaching the women’s hijab dress code in Tehran.

(With inputs from agencies)

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