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Source: AFP

Jun 14, 2023

Iran Sentences Man To Death For Killing Ayatollah

By AFP - Agence France Presse

An Iranian court has sentenced a man to death after convicting him of killing a powerful cleric in April, the judiciary said Wednesday, but the victim's family may still spare his life.

Ayatollah Abbas Ali Soleimani, a member of the Assembly of Experts that selects the country's supreme leader, was killed on April 26 inside a bank in Babolsar city in the northern province of Mazandaran.

The man convicted of his murder, who has not been named by authorities, was a security guard at the bank."The killer of Ayatollah Soleimani was sentenced to qesas (Iran's Islamic law of retribution) on the charge of intentional murder," provincial judiciary chief Mohammad Sadegh Akbari said, according to the judiciary's Mizan Online website.

CCTV footage released by the media at the time showed the security guard, wearing a blue and white jacket, shooting the cleric from behind as he was sitting in a chair at the bank.

Under Islamic law, the sentence of qesas can be dropped if the victim's family agrees to spare the convict.Soleimani, 75, was previously a representative of the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

He had also been the imam who led Friday prayers in the cities of Kashan, in Isfahan province, and Zahedan, in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan.

Under the constitution, the 88-strong Assembly of Experts is tasked with supervising, dismissing and electing the supreme leader.

In April last year, a suspected jihadist knife attack in Iran's second city of Mashhad led to the deaths of two clerics and injuries to a third.

The chief suspect, identified as Abdolatif Moradi, 21, was hanged in Mashhad in June on the charge of moharebeh, or enmity against God.

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