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Source: RFE/RL

Dec 15, 2023

Mother Who Protested Son's Death During Iran Unrest To Start 13-Year Prison Sentence

Mahsa Yazdani, the mother of a young man killed during last year's nationwide unrest, has been summoned by the Iranian judiciary to serve a prison sentence for comments she made on social media over the killing of her son by government forces.

Yazdani was handed a 13-year prison term by the first branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in the northern city of Sari after being convicted on charges including "propaganda activities against the system" and "insulting the leadership" for her comments.

Yazdani announced on her Instagram account on December 14 that she was given three days to show up for the commencement of her sentence after an appeals court last month rejected her appeal.

Yazdani's son, Mohammad Javad Zahedi, was 20 years old when he was fatally shot by government forces in the northern Iranian city of Sari.

Following his death, Yazdani expressed her grief on social media, writing, "I am broken, this loss has driven me insane, a curse on the entire regime.

"Zahedi was one of hundreds of casualties during protests that erupted following the death of Amini, a 22-year-old woman who had been detained for an alleged head-scarf violation.

The Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) says more than 500 people have been killed during the unrest, including 71 minors, as security forces try to stifle widespread dissent.

The sentence against Zahedi's mother underscores the Iranian regime's unrelenting stance against criticism related to the protests, which erupted following the death of Mahsa Amini in September last year.

Amini's death while in police custody sparked widespread outrage and demonstrations against the government's policies, particularly those concerning women's rights and overall freedoms.

Tensions between the government and the families of those killed or arrested in the nationwide protests have been on the rise in recent months after the first anniversary of the deaths of many protesters, as well as Amini.

The government has been accused of stepping up the pressure on the victims' families through collective arrests and the summoning of grieving families by security agencies with the aim of keeping them from commemorating the lives of their loved ones, which the government fears will trigger more unrest.

International human rights organizations have condemned Iran's actions, with Amnesty International saying that Iranian authorities' efforts to obstruct justice and exacerbate the suffering of the families of the deceased have "no bounds."

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda

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