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2,580 lashes, 344 months behind bars for 86 protesters in southern Iran

Protest rally in the town of Beldaji, Chaharmahal & Bakhtiari Province, southern Iran (File Photo)
Protest rally in the town of Beldaji, Chaharmahal & Bakhtiari Province, southern Iran (File Photo)

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, September 12, 2019—A so-called criminal court in the city of Borujen in Chaharmahal & Bakhtiari Province, southern Iran, has sentenced 86 detained protesters from the nearby town of Beldaji to a total of 2,580 lashes and 344 months behind bars.

The “crime” of these individuals was holding a rally in July 2016 and protesting the transfer of their local water sources to an area known as “Sefid Dasht” to be used in a steel factory near the city of Isfahan, central Iran. These protests resulted in clashes between protesters and state security forces, leaving one individual dead and 108 injured. 70 protesters were arrested during the course. Those arrested were prosecuted on charges of “disrupting public order.”

Fearing an escalation of popular protests and an outbreak of a nationwide uprising similar to those witnessed in December 2017/January 2018, the mullahs’ regime ruling Iran continues to its 40-year-long practice of widespread and arbitrary arrests, holding medieval trials, and issuing lengthy prison sentences for political prisoners, according to a statement by Iranian opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

On September 7, 2019, the mullahs’ sham court sentenced Ms. Sepideh Gholian, Ms. Asal Mohammadi, Ms. Sanaz Alahyari and Messrs. Esmaeel Bakhshi, Mohammad Hanifar, Amir Ami-Gholi, and Amir Hossein Mohammadi-far to lengthy prison terms. They had been arrested during last year’s strikes and protests by the Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Factory workers.

Charged with such bogus offenses as “gathering and colluding against national security [of the state],” “propaganda activities,” and “spreading lies,” they were sentenced to a total of 110 years in prison.

These cruel sentences aroused a wave of anger and protest, forcing the regime’s criminal Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi to reluctantly retreat and promise a review of these sentences by the court of appeals.

Two weeks earlier, a journalist, Ms. Marzieh Amiri, arrested during the May Day protests in Tehran, was sentenced to 10.5 years in prison and 148 lashes. Ms. Atefeh Rangriz, also arrested on May Day, was sentenced to 11.5-years in prison and 74 lashes. At the same time, Mr. Kiumars Marzban-dar was sentenced to 11 years in prison. Moreover, in recent weeks, nine Haft Tappeh workers were each sentenced to eight months in prison with hard labor and 30 lashes. Previously, a University Professor, Mr. Kamal Jafari Yazdi had been sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Simultaneously, the mullahs’ regime released Saeed Mortazavi, the former Tehran prosecutor and one of the regime's most criminal judges, after serving slightly over one year in prison. He had been charged with “complicity involuntary manslaughter” of a prisoner detained during the 2009 uprising and sentenced to two years in prison. He was additionally sentenced to 70 lashes for embezzlement, which was pardoned by the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei last year. Mortazavi clearly belongs to the list of those perpetrating crimes against humanity.

Iranian opposition President Maryam Rajavi noted that through this wave of arbitrary arrests and medieval sentences the mullahs’ anti-human regime was trying in vain to thwart the eruption of popular protests and nationwide uprisings that seek the regime’s overthrow. She urged the world community, especially the United Nations Secretary-General, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and other international human rights organizations to take urgent action to secure the release of political prisoners. Mrs. Rajavi again demanded the formation and the dispatch of an international fact-finding mission to Iran to investigate prison conditions and the plight of political prisoners.