Iran indicts 1,000 for unrest, plans public trials – report

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DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran’s radical judiciary will hold public trials of around 1,000 people indicted over the unrest in Tehran, a semi-official news agency said on Monday, stepping up efforts to crush weeks of protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody.

One of the boldest challenges to Iran’s religious leaders since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the nearly seven-week protests have continued despite a deadly crackdown and increasingly stern warnings, with the Revolutionary Guards saying without Ambushes the demonstrators not to take to the streets.

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In a video shared on social media, a woman said her 22-year-old son was sentenced to death two days ago at an initial hearing and asked for help. The widely followed Twitter account that shared the video, 1500tasvir, said he was tried by the “riot court”.

Iranian leaders have called the protests a plot against the Islamic Republic by enemies including the United States, vowing to take tough action against protesters they have called “rioters”.

Protesters from all walks of life took part, with students and women playing a prominent role, waving and burning scarves since Amini, 22, died in the custody of vice police who arrested her for “inappropriate attire”.

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The semi-official Tasnim news agency, quoting Tehran’s chief justice, said the trials of around 1,000 people “who committed acts of sabotage during recent events, including assaulting or martyring security guards, (and) burning down public property”, would take place in a Revolutionary Court.

The trials were scheduled for this week and would be held in public, he said.

It was not immediately clear whether the 1,000 indictments announced on Monday included 315 protesters who the official IRNA news agency said were charged on Saturday in Tehran, at least five of whom are charged with capital offenses.

In the video shared on social networks, the mother of Mohammad Ghobadlou, 22, says she was questioned without the presence of a lawyer.

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“My son is ill, the court won’t even allow his lawyer into the courtroom… They questioned him without the presence of a lawyer and in the very first session they sentenced to death and want to execute him as soon as possible,” the woman said. , who did not give his name.

Reuters could not independently verify his account.

There has been no official comment on the case.

Reinforcing warnings against protesters, Revolutionary Guards commander Hossein Salami on Saturday warned them not to take to the streets, saying it was the “last day of the riots”.

Saeid Golkar of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga said the warning was a clear message that the Islamic Republic views the protests “as a very threatening event for the regime”. The continued protests are “a sign that people are more determined to challenge the regime than in the past”, he said.

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“Unfortunately…history has shown us that they are willing to use any level of violence to stay in power.”

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The Revolutionary Guards, who report directly to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have yet to be used to quell the unrest. So far, the authorities have mainly called on the security forces, including the volunteer Basij militia.

The militant HRANA news agency said on Saturday that 283 protesters had been killed in the unrest, including 44 minors. Some 34 members of the security forces were also killed.

Demonstrations began to gather again on Monday at universities in Tehran, according to the Tasvir1500 Twitter account.

The protests have been fueled by the deaths of several teenage girls who were allegedly killed during a protest.

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On Monday, people chanted against the government during a rally at the grave of a 16-year-old Kurdish girl killed by security forces in the city of Sanandaj, capital of Kurdistan province, according to the organization of advocacy for Hengaw rights.

Several Western powers have condemned Tehran for Amini’s death and the crackdown, imposing new sanctions on Iranian officials.

Germany’s foreign minister said on Sunday that Germany and the European Union are considering whether to classify the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry said Germany’s stance on the issue was “unconstructive, irresponsible and illegal”.

The United States placed the Revolutionary Guards on its list of foreign terrorist organizations in 2019. (Reporting by Dubai Newsroom; Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Nick Macfie and Mark Heinrich)

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