By: Borzou Daragahi
Mr Mazloumin and his partner were reported arrested 4 July, accused of hoarding two tons of gold in order drive up prices, according to local media. He always insisted on his innocence, explaining in an interview published after his death that gold prices rose and fell based on supply and demand.
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei approved the creation of a special economic courts to handle corruption cases in August. Since then, dozens of businesspeople have been sentenced by the court, including three others who remain on death row.
Mr Mazloumin and Mr Ghassemi were tried hurriedly in a proceeding that was partially broadcast on state television in September, with hardline media clamouring for the ultimate punishment and a charge of spreading corruption on earth.
The two men were initially sentenced to death in early October. The judiciary announced on 21 October that the death sentences against the two had been upheld.
Six weeks later, they were abruptly hung at the gallows.
Mr Khalili said he suspected the executions were meant to distract the public from scrutinising the underlying causes of corruption, but also to send a deterrent message to private-sector vendors to lower their profit margins. Whilst both may be humdrum political and policy objectives, rights advocates say they in no way justify the death penalty.
“Under international human rights law,” Amnesty International’s Philip Luther said in a statement, “the death penalty is absolutely forbidden for non-lethal crimes, such as financial corruption.”
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