Protest-hit Iran sentences four to jail over strike call

AFP , Sunday 8 Jan 2023

Iran's judiciary announced on Sunday jail terms of up to 10 years for people who called for strikes as part of a months-long protest movement.

Protesters gather at Marble Arch before they march to Trafalgar Square to protest against the Islamic Republic in Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini, in London, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023. AP


It is the first time the judiciary has announced prison sentences for such incitement during the nationwide protests triggered by the September death in custody of Mahsa Amini.

The judiciary's Mizan Online news website said the four defendants received between one and 10 years in prison. They were not identified and may still appeal the verdicts.

Activists on social media had called for three-day nationwide strikes starting on December 5, in support of the movement which began with the death of Amini, 22. She had been arrested by morality police for allegedly violating the strict dress code for women.

Mojtaba Ghahramani, head of the judiciary for Iran's southern province of Hormozgan, said the four were sentenced principally "for having incited drivers to strike", and for vandalism. He was quoted by Mizan.

According to Ghahramani, "none of the defendants is a driver or has anything to do with the transport sector."

"One of the defendants was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment and another to five years for forming a group with the aim of disrupting national security," Ghahramani said.

Two others have been given a year in jail each and a fine for "disturbing public order and destroying truck windows", he said.

On December 5 local media reported that authorities sealed a jewelry shop and restaurant in Tehran belonging to football legend Ali Daei, after he backed the protesters' strike calls.

Iranian authorities have described the protests mostly as "riots" and accuse hostile foreign nations of stoking the unrest.

Officials say hundreds of people, including members of the security forces, have been killed and thousands arrested since September 16.

Four men, including two on Saturday, have been executed for killing and wounding security force members in connection with the protests.

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