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Condemned to death (left to right): Said Tamjidi, Mohammad Rajabi, and Amir Hossein Moradi

Iran has suspended the execution of three men linked to anti-government protests in November 2019, one of their lawyers says.

Babak Paknia said in a Twitter post on July 19 that the Iranian judiciary had ordered a retrial for the three.

The lawyer's announcement comes after a massive social-media campaign calling for Iran to halt state executions. The online protest has been joined by many Iranians -- including ordinary citizens as well as intellectuals, former politicians, and prominent artists.

Amnesty International recorded 251 executions in Iran during 2019, making Iran second to China for state executions.

Using the Persian-language hashtag #Don't_Execute -- # اعدام_نکنید -- the campaign was launched in response to confirmation on July 14 by Iran's powerful judiciary that death sentences had been upheld against Amir Hossein Moradi, 25, Saeed Tamjidi, 27, and Mohammad Rajabi, 25.

The three were among many who were arrested in a brutal crackdown against demonstrators who took to the streets in dozens of cities and towns across Iran in November 2019.

Analysts said the social-media campaign was unprecedented in its scope and the level of participation of Iranians both within and outside Iran.

Many took to Twitter, which is blocked in Iran, and Instagram, the only social-media platform that has not been blocked in the Islamic republic.

The hashtag #Don't_Execute in Persian has trended globally on Twitter, being used more than 7 million times.

Other social-networking platforms also were used to share pictures of the three Iranian men on death row and to call for their executions to be halted.

The protests, sparked by a sudden hike in the price of gasoline, focused on Iran's deteriorating economy, rising poverty, and government corruption. But they quickly turned political with chants against the clerical establishment.

Amnesty International has said at least 304 people were killed in the crackdown.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters
Weeklong Khabarovsk Protests Culminate In Thousands-Strong Demonstration
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Tens of thousands of people in the Far Eastern Russian city of Khabarovsk marched in an unsanctioned rally on July 18 to protest the arrest of a local governor.

Videos of the event showed a massive crowd filing down a main thoroughfare in the regional capital and gathering in its main square to demand the release of Khabarovsk Krai Governor Sergei Furgal.

An estimated 15,000 to 50,000 demonstrators took part in the nearly five-hour rally, according to reports, although police gave no official crowd estimate. City authorities reported no arrests or violence.

The rally ended in front of the city's Mayor's Office, where demonstrators protested comments made by Mayor Sergei Kravchuk, who earlier suggested that Furgal's supporters were being paid.

The 50-year-old Furgal, who belongs to the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, denies the charges, and his supporters say they are politically motivated. Last week, weekend protests were reportedly the largest-ever in the city of 590,000.

The continuing protests, far from the Russian capital, are a rare public show of defiance against the Kremlin and come following a controversial nationwide vote that set the stage for President Vladimir Putin to remain in power until 2036.

Among the signs seen during the July 18 rally were ones reading "Free Furgal" and “Moscow. Go away from our river, our minerals, our resources.”

Rallies also took place on July 18 in the Khabarovsk Krai city of Komsomolk-On-Amur and in the port city of Vladivostok in the neighboring Primorsk region.

On July 17, a Russian official announced that President Putin would soon appoint an acting governor of Khabarovsk Krai.

With reporting by Kommersant and Interfax

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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