Iran indicts 1,000 people for unrest, plans public trials
- Iran steps up crackdown on lingering wave of protests
- Revolutionary court to hear cases against suspects
- Analysts say increased warnings show authorities are concerned
- Iran will continue to block Instagram and WhatsApp, official says
- Court denies sentence against man
DUBAI, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Iran’s radical judiciary will hold public trials of around 1,000 people indicted for 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 persisted despite a deadly crackdown and increasingly stern warnings, with the Revolutionary Guards saying bluntly demonstrators not to take to the streets.
The judiciary has denied a sentence has yet been handed down to a man it says was arrested during riots and charged with hitting and killing a police officer with his car and injuring five other officers after that a woman who identified herself as his mother said the man had been convicted. to death at a first hearing.
Iran’s leaders have vowed to take tough action against protesters they have called rioters, accusing their enemies, including the United States, of fomenting the unrest.
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”.
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 security, (and) burning of public property” would take place in a revolutionary tribunal.
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.
Justice declared that no conviction had yet been pronounced against Mohammad Ghobadlou, 22, the man she accuses of having struck the police. He said he was charged with “corruption on earth” – a capital crime.
During a hearing partly broadcast by Iranian state television on Saturday, Ghobadlou said he lost control of his car and hit someone who fell on his windshield and broke it, after which he did not saw nothing more. “I got out of the car and put my hands on my head (to surrender),” he said.
Reuters was unable to immediately contact his family or a lawyer representing him on Monday.
Earlier, in a video shared on social media, the woman identified as his mother claimed that he had been sentenced to death during the hearing two days earlier and that the court dismissed his lawyers.
“My son is ill, the court won’t even allow his lawyer to enter 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 this as soon as possible,” said the woman, who did not give her name.
Reuters could not independently verify his account or that of the court.
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.
“Unfortunately…history has shown us that they are willing to use any level of violence to stay in power.”
Meir Javedanfar, a lecturer on Iran at Reichman University in Israel, said the official warnings underscored growing state concern about the resilience of the unrest, “the fact that despite early predictions by some officials of the regime, these protests are not going away”.
The Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s elite military and security force, have yet to be used to quell the unrest. Authorities have so far mainly relied on riot police and the volunteer Basij militia to crush protests.
The militant HRANA news agency said on Sunday that 284 protesters had been killed in the unrest, including 45 minors. Some 36 members of the security forces were also killed.
Footage shared by 1500tasvir showed people fleeing a commemoration in the town of Shahriar near Tehran for a man killed in protests 40 days ago, with a voice saying they were fleeing an attack by security forces. Previous videos showed dozens of mourners at the rally, shouting slogans calling for the death of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Reuters could not verify the images.
The protests have been fueled by the deaths of several teenage girls who were allegedly killed during a protest.
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.
State media reported that WhatsApp and Instagram – both owned by Meta Platforms (META.O) – would continue to be blocked, accusing the companies of not cooperating “with the laws of the Islamic Republic”.
Iran blocked the two apps, used to share protest videos, from the start of the protests.
Reporting from Dubai Newsroom; Written by Tom Perry; Editing by Nick Macfie, Mark Heinrich and Howard Goller
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