The three were found guilty of “participation in vandalism and arson with the intent to confront and engage in war with the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
In an open letter, the men’s lawyers said their clients had been forced to confess under “aberrant conditions.” The Supreme Court turned down an appeal and upheld the death sentences on Tuesday, the judiciary announced.
A broad range of Iranians joined the online campaign denouncing the sentences. “Every human life is precious. #DontExecute,” Mojgan Rezaei, a lifestyle blogger in Tehran, wrote on Instagram, where she has more than 200,000 followers.
“We are overwhelmed with grief, running out of time to mourn. #DontExecute,” tweeted a Tehran-based economist, Siamak Ghasemi.
Well-known figures followed, some of them with millions of followers: Mohsen Chavoshi, a pop singer; Azar Mahisefat, a grandmother and a food blogger; Taraneh Alidousti, an actress; Asghar Farhadi, a filmmaker who has won two Oscars. Hossein Mahini, a player for Iran’s beloved national soccer team, sent a tweet with the #DontExecute hashtag written three times, once for each of the men facing death.
Ordinary internet users who rarely weigh in on political issues shared photos of the three men. Sara, a homemaker with two young daughters who asked that her last name not be reported, posted a photo of three bleeding red roses and wrote: “Enough. Don’t execute life.”
Politicians took notice. Former Vice President Mohamad Ali Abtahi, a cleric, warned in a tweet that the government should not be stubborn in the face of such strong public opinion. A former member of Parliament, Parvaneh Salahshouri, tweeted a line of poetry about oppression with the #DontExecute hashtag.