TEHRAN, Iran — Three defendants in Iran's mass trial of opposition figures accused of fueling the country's post-election unrest have been sentenced to death, an Iranian news agency reported on Oct. 10.
Two were convicted of membership in a monarchist group seeking to topple Iran's Islamic Republic and restore a monarchy, the official
The third defendant was convicted of having ties to a terrorist group and alleged links to the People's Mujahedeen, an armed opposition group,
The three are the first defendants to be sentenced to death since the trials began in August.
More than 100 prominent opposition figures and activists are accused of offenses ranging from rioting to spying and seeking to topple Iran's Islamic rulers through what authorities have called a planned "soft overthrow."
The days of street protests were triggered by allegations of fraud in the June 12 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The judiciary official would only identify the three sentenced to death by their initials, the news agency reported. He said that their lawyers had been informed of the rulings and that they could appeal the sentences.
On Oct. 10, Amnesty International identified one of those sentenced to death as Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani.
Amnesty International said the 37-year-old was convicted of "enmity against God" through membership in a monarchist group. It also said he was convicted of generating propaganda against the ruling regime and leaving the country illegally to meet U.S. military officials in Iraq.
Amnesty said it was concerned that the ruling against Zamani could open the way for more death sentences for those accused of similar crimes. The human rights group appealed to Iranian authorities to rescind the ruling.
Zamani testified in August that he met a U.S. intelligence agent called "Frank" in Irbil, the capital of Iraq's self-governing Kurdish region, and received money and a phone from him in return for information on the Iranian government and student movements, according to state media reports at the time.
Rights groups and opposition figures in Iran have criticised the proceedings, calling them a "show trial" and saying that such confessions have been coerced.