When Mohammad Hashemi woke up this time last week, he was told that his cousin Majid Kazemi had been executed along with Saleh Mirhashemi and Saeed Yaqoubi. The Iranian regime had claimed three men were responsible for the deaths of three members of the security forces during anti-government protests in November.
Immediately after their execution, state media reran video posts of what were presented as the mens’ confessions, which Amnesty International said had been extracted by torture. Speaking to the Guardian from Sydney, Hashemi said his cousin was tormented by interrogators. Kazemi was also allegedly subjected to mock executions at least 15 times and reportedly shown a video of one of his brothers being tortured.
In an audio message recorded inside Dastgerd prison, Kazemi said: 'I swear to God I am innocent. I didn’t have any weapons on me. [Security forces] kept beating me and ordering me to say this weapon is mine … I told them I would say whatever they wanted, just please leave my family alone.'
More than 220 people have been executed in Iran this year, the Norway-based group Iran Human Rights said recently. At least 582 people were executed in 2022, the highest number since 2015, according to activists.