he nationwide protests that began last autumn have turned into one of the boldest challenges to the clerical leadership since the 1979 revolution. They were ignited by the death of the 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini while in the custody of Iran’s “morality police” on 16 September.
Prominent Iranian figures including the actor Taraneh Alidoosti – who was herself jailed for a few weeks in December for publishing a photograph of herself without a hijab – and the footballer Ali Karimi had expressed their concern about the three men’s fate. Rallies in support of them had been held in Berlin, London and Stockholm.
A video showing a group of mothers from the western city of Sanandaj condemning the death sentences was shared on social media.
On Wednesday, a Twitter account published handwritten notes by the men appealing for public support. “Don’t let them kill us,” read one note, which went viral on social media.
Friends of the families of the men said one of them – Kazemi – had been suspended upside down by interrogators and shown a video of his brother being tortured. Kazemi was also allegedly subjected to mock executions at least 15 times.
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