Over 14,000 people have been arrested in Iran since the start of the protests
Iran has sought to aggressively prosecute protesters amid the largest pushback against the Islamist regime in decades, with courts in and around the capital of Tehran sentencing 400 people to prison sentences of up to 10 years in the crack down.
“One hundred and sixty people were sentenced to between five and 10 years in prison, 80 people to two to five years and 160 people to up to two years,” Ali Alghasi-Mehr, the judiciary chief for Tehran province, said, according to a report in the Guardian newspaper Tuesday.
The harsh sentences come in response to the protests that have spread across the country in the aftermath of the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody in September after being arrested by the country’s morality police for not wearing the appropriate head coverings, in violation of Iran’s hard-line Islamist laws.
The Iranian regime has responded by attempting to crack down on the unrest by flooding the streets with police and making thousands of arrests, with the violence resulting in the deaths of over 300 demonstrators, a number that included at least 40 children, according to United Nations estimates.
But there are some signs that protesters were having an influence on policy after it was reported earlier this month that Iran was planning to abolish its controversial morality police force, though laws mandating a strict adherence to Islamic law would remain on the books.
Iranian police arrive to disperse a protest to mark 40 days since the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. (AP)
Nevertheless, the regime has still sought to aggressively punish “rioters,” a term the authorities have used to describe protesters.
Reports circulated last month that Iran had sentenced approximately 15,000 people to death for participating in the protests, though a fact check by Al Jazeera last month claimed the actual number was much lower than that, with the regime confirming to the outlet that it had given five people the death sentence in cases linked to the protests.
Ali Safavi, a member of the Foreign Affairs committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, told Fox News Digital that based on his group’s network inside Iran, “at least 30 protesters have been sentenced to death, but a greater number have been convicted of “Moharebeh” (waging war on God), but their sentences, whether execution or not, have not yet been determined.”
Students take to the streets in Iran earlier this month. (National Council of Resistance of Iran)
Safavi noted that “The execution of protesters makes it abundantly clear that the mullahs’ regime has failed in its efforts to quell the Iranian people’s nationwide uprising, which has now entered its fourth month, putting the overthrow of the ruling theocracy on the horizon. This explains why the mullahs’ regime has resorted to the most heinous crimes in its most medieval forms to instill terror among the public.… The end of this medieval regime, which seemed inconceivable before, has now become inevitable.”
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But the lengthy prison sentences in and around Tehran don’t paint a full picture of the crackdown across the country, with UN human rights experts estimating that over 14,000 people have been arrested nationwide since the protests began.
A request for comment from Iran’s UN Mission was not immediately returned.