Mohammad’s cousin was executed in Iran after attending a protest. He had one final request

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun18,2024
Key Points
  • The demonstrations following the suspicious death of Mahsa Jina Amini in Iran led to the arrest of at least 19,000 protestors, some of whom are now facing death sentences.
  • Iran executed 853 people in 2023, the highest number recorded in the country since 2015.
  • In recent days, vision has emerged on social media showing violent arrests of women for not wearing the compulsory hijab.
In December 2022, during a demonstration in Sydney against the execution of a protester in Iran, Mohammad Hashemi received news that hit close to home.
His cousin, Majid Kazemi, had been arrested after taking part in a protest in Iran that carried the popular slogan Woman, Life, Freedom.
“I was doing my best to do anything to echo the Iranian people’s voice. But I didn’t know that it could happen to me and how close it was,” Hashemi told SBS News.
“We were just chanting [against the death sentence], and then, a few minutes later, I realised it was close to my family. It was really shocking for me at first, and I was thinking what’s going on?”

The large-scale protests in Iran in 2022, sparked by the suspicious death of Mahsa Jina Amini, led to the arrest of at least 19,000 individuals, with a number of them now facing death sentences, as reported by the Iranian Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).

“Ever since the popular Woman, Life, Freedom uprising in Iran, authorities have used increasingly harsh tactics to suppress descent to this uprising,” Nikita White, International Issues Campaigner for Amnesty International Australia, explained.

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Mohammad Hashemi and his cousin Majid Kazemi. Credit: SUPPLIED

‘One of them was my cousin’

Majid Kazemi was among the thousands arrested for taking part in the protests.
In May 2023, he, along with Saleh Mirhashemi and Saeed Yaghoobi, were found guilty of “enmity against God” and sentenced to death, in what was known as the Isfahan House case.
According to, the authorities imposed the charge based on “unfounded allegations stemming from torture-tainted confessions” that the men used firearms in an incident during protests in which three members of the security forces died.
“I was just checking my Instagram, and I saw the news that three people were sentenced to execution for the Isfahan House case. And one of them was my cousin, Majid Kazemi,” Hashemi said.
After the sentence was announced, Hashemi campaigned in Australia against the execution of his cousin, and in Iran, protesters gathered outside the prison where they were being held.

“Those were the hardest days of my life,” he said.

On May 19, 2023, the men were executed. Hashemi received the news via a local media report.
“I saw the page had some updates, and it had three pictures of Majid, Saeed, and Saleh, and I just saw the word execution. I totally lost everything. I couldn’t believe that they executed him,” he said.
“Everything after that was different for me. That moment changed my life forever.”
Other protesters, such as Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, are facing a similar fate.
“Unfortunately, they are not the only ones,” Sara Kowal, the vice president of Capital Punishment Justice Project, told SBS News.

“We have seen many protesters having the same fate.”

Executions as a ‘tool to repress dissent’

Iran executed at least 853 people in 2023, according to , the highest number recorded in the country since 2015.

The figure represents a 48 per cent increase from 2022 and a 172 per cent increase from 2021.

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“What we witnessed over the last few years has been an increase in the use of the death penalty – of executions, of torture and increasing repression of women,” White said.

“That has really made worse what was already a pretty horrible situation for human rights in Iran.”
According to the Abdorrahman Boroumand Centre for Human Rights in Iran, there have been at least 233 reported executions this year, with Amnesty International confirming at least 95 by March 20.
The Iran Human Rights monitor reported that during the first 10 days of May, 40 individuals were executed – one person every six hours.
“We believe this is because the Iranian authorities are using executions as a tool to repress dissent,” White said.
“That’s incredibly chilling and needs more outcry from the international community.

“We’re incredibly concerned to see that people who have been executed include protesters, people who are exercising their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. They also include hundreds of people who have been executed for drug-related offences, ethnic minority groups in Iran, and a lot of unfair trials and torture in detention.”

Experts are concerned that the rise in capital punishment comes as the world’s attention is turned elsewhere.
“Global politics, including the conflict in the Middle East, is really distracting global focus on what is happening and this really dramatic increase in state-sanctioned killings in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Kowal said.

“Iran is a signatory to the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights. Article six really limits the use of the death penalty to the most serious offences, and it’s very clear in international law that drug offending or political protest does not reach that threshold at all.”

‘An increase in the surveillance of women’

There are reports of a renewed crackdown on women in Iran as part of a campaign called ‘Noor’ which translates to ‘Light’ in Persian.
The campaign was announced by Iranian authorities on April 13, the same day that Iran launched an .
On Tuesday, the deputy commander-in-chief of police affirmed that the campaign “is still being taken seriously”.

White said in the past few months, Amnesty had reported “an increase in harassment and arrests of women”.

“What we have documented in recent months is an increase in the surveillance of women on a mass scale, particularly that women have been surveilled while driving,” White said.
“That has led to tens of thousands of women having their cars impounded because they weren’t wearing a headscarf.”

She said the campaign had detrimentally impacted the daily lives of women who are “receiving prison sentences, [are] being sentenced to flogging, [are] receiving fines for not wearing a headscarf, and [are] being denied access to public places like banks and public transport”.

In recent days, vision has surfaced on social media of the violent arrests of women for not wearing the compulsory hijab.
On Tuesday, Iran’s Police Information Centre cited a recent video circulating on social media, stating that an officer had, in fact, been arrested and suspended for “uncharacteristic behaviour”.
The police also said they “expect the citizens, especially the accused persons (such as the woman whose arrest video was released), to obey the law and the arrest warrant”.

White said she was concerned at the lengths the Iranian authorities would go to crack down on women exercising their human rights.

‘Don’t let them kill us’

Iranians within the community in Australia, like Hashemi, are advocating for their loved ones.
“All the advocacy I’m doing for Majid, I could say it’s the most important mission I have in my life,” he said.

“I know all the consequences, but I’m not able to be silent anymore because I can see how brutal they can get and that it’s coming to every one of us.”


In memory of Saeed Yaghoubi, Saleh Mirhashemi and Majid Kazemi, the protest is called ‘Don’t let them kill us’ – The words handwritten on the last note they smuggled out of prison – just before their execution.

A day before their executions, Kazemi, Mirhashemi, and Yaghoobi smuggled a handwritten note out of prison that stated: “Don’t let them kill us.”

These final words have formed a slogan for protests Hashemi is organising in their memory to mark the anniversary of their executions, held in cities across the world, including Sydney.
“In their last moment, those three pleaded for others to help them. This means that we need to keep doing what we are doing to stop executions in Iran,” he said.

“I know it’s been over a year since our Woman Life Freedom uprising started. But don’t forget these innocent people that were killed. Don’t forget them, we need to continue the thing they started until we reach our mission.”

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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One thought on “Mohammad’s cousin was executed in Iran after attending a protest. He had one final request”
  1. It’s heartbreaking to hear about the execution of Mohammad’s cousin in Iran. The number of people facing death sentences after protests is alarming. The use of violent tactics to suppress dissent is deeply concerning. My thoughts are with all those affected by this tragedy.

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