Winnipeg’s Iranian community condemns executions, demands action at CMHR rally

Members of Winnipeg’s Iranian community held a rally at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights Saturday protesting the recent surge in executions in the country.

The United Nations reports the Iranian government has executed at least 259 people in 2023 so far. The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody last year spurred large-scale protests in Iran, with the state allegedly arresting and torturing protesters without charge. The recent hangings of three protesters sparked demonstrations in cities around the world, including Winnipeg.

Winnipeg demonstrators held signs and chanted “End the hangings!”

“We’re here to first, condemn the recent executions in Iran by the Islamic Republic, and secondly, to demand bold action from the free world to stop the execution of those in grave danger of being executed in the month of May,” said Arian Arianpour, president of Iranian Community of Manitoba.

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The people in Iran are sacrificing their lives for universal values,” Arianpour added. “When you’re a protester in Iran, when you leave your home, you don’t know if you’re coming back. Really, this is the least that we can do in a free country.”

Kourosh Doustshenas, a spokesperson for Families of Flight PS752 in Winnipeg, said the protest is an outlet for family and friends in a terrifying and heartbreaking time.

“Most of the families and friends over here, they see their friends or families are being prosecuted or being put in jail or tortured,” he said. “They feel hopelessness.”

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Families of Flight PS752 is a network of people affected by the 2020 shooting down of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 in Tehran. All passengers on board were killed, and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps admitted the plane was downed by its missiles.

Doustshenas said international action is necessary to stop the senseless killing of Iranian civilians.

“We’re asking our elected officials to put pressure on the Iranian regime around the world,” he said. “In the month of May, there have been 83 executions in Iran, which is appalling and unbelievable.”

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with files from Global’s Negar Mojtahedi

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