4 Iranians sentenced to jail for ‘inciting strikes’ and vandalism amid protests

In 1st such case, defendants get 1-10 years in prison but may appeal verdicts; activists on social media had called for three-day nationwide shutdown last month

File: A woman carries her cart past closed shops of Tehran's Grand Bazaar, Iran amid strike calls,  Nov. 15, 2022 (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
File: A woman carries her cart past closed shops of Tehran's Grand Bazaar, Iran amid strike calls, Nov. 15, 2022 (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

TEHRAN — 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.

It is the first time the judiciary has announced prison sentences for such incitement during the nationwide protests trigged 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.

In this frame grab from video taken by an individual not employed by the Associated Press and obtained by the AP outside Iran shows people block an intersection during a protest to mark 40 days since the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, whose tragedy sparked Iran’s biggest antigovernment movement in over a decade, in Tehran, Iran, October 26, 2022. (AP Photo)

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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