Germany had strongly condemned the execution of Iranian opposition member Ruhollah Sam. Iran sees this as “unacceptable interference”.

The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has engaged the German ambassador Hans-Udo Muzel. The reason given was “unacceptable interference” in Iran’s “internal affairs”, as the state news agency Irna reported. The European Union and the German government on Saturday condemned the execution of Iranian opposition member Ruhollah Sam. Germany currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU Council.

The head of the French embassy in Tehran must also be summoned, Irna reported. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps reported the arrest of Sam in October 2019, who was recognized as a refugee in France. The Revolutionary Guards have not provided information on the place or time of arrest. Sam was “controlled by French intelligence” and supported by the United States and Israel, the Iranian side said.

“Serious attack on freedom of speech”

Sam was hanged Saturday morning for his leading role in anti-government protests in Tehran in the winter of 2017/18, Iranian state television reported. The European Union condemned the execution of the death penalty “in the strongest possible way,” as a spokeswoman for EU Foreign Affairs Representative Josep Borrell announced on Saturday. Capital punishment must be rejected in all circumstances. The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs spoke of a “serious attack on freedom of expression” and a “barbaric act”.

The federal government also sharply criticized Sam’s execution: Berlin was “shocked by the execution,” said a Foreign Office spokesman. Capital punishment is “a cruel and inhumane form of punishment that we reject in all circumstances”. The federal government is also “shocked by the circumstances under which the conviction took place, especially the previous kidnapping from abroad”.

Only China is carrying out more executions

At least 25 people were killed in protests in many Iranian cities between December 2017 and January 2018. The demonstrations, which began as protests against the high cost of living, quickly took a political turn.

Iran has executed at least 251 people in the past year, the second highest number in the world for carrying out death sentences, according to Amnesty International. Most of the executions took place in China.

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