Iran court sentences 36 protesters to 109 years in prison

The only crime of 36 people was to participate in a protest demonstration 


An Iranian court in southwestern Iran has sentenced 36 protesters who were arrested during anti-government demonstrations last year to a total of 109 years in prison reported by a news site HRANA run by Iranian human rights activists. The 36 individuals were also sentenced to a total of 2,590 lashes and fined, according to HRANA.

The verdicts were issued on Thursday by a court in the city of Behbahan in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan headed by Judge Rasoul Asadpour, HRANA said. The city witnessed violent clashes between protesters and security forces during demonstrations in November 2019.

Hundreds of protesters, some of them children, were shot dead by security forces across Iran during the November protests.

The uprisings were sparked by big increase in the prices of gasoline that quickly turned political, with demonstrators demanding regime change.

Tehran has not yet officially announced the exact number of people killed in the protests, but right groups have put the death toll at more than 300, while Reuters reported that security forces killed about 1,500 people in less than two weeks after protests erupted on November 15. Thousands were also reportedly detained.

Human Rights Watch has criticised these trials and declare them unfair and unjust. Iranian government officials repeatedly advertise to the world that the repeated protests in the country signal that there are real freedoms in Iran, while these same protestors languish in prison for years,” said Michael Page the deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Prosecuting peaceful protesters will only add fuel to Iranians’ boiling frustration and discontent with the situation.”

Three sources with close knowledge of the protesters’ cases told Human Rights Watch that prosecutors charged them with “assembly and collusion against national security” due to “participating in a protest without a permit that disrupted public order.” In the sentencing of at least two people, including Saba Kordafshari, 19, the evidence prosecutors presented was solely their social media posts reporting on the protest.

Two sources reported that prosecutors and prison officials denied the detainees access to a lawyer throughout the investigation and the trial and pressured them to plead guilty. Iranian law restricts the rights of detainees charged with national security crimes to see a lawyer during the investigation period.

                                                              Web Desk

 


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