Iran tightens screws against anti-hijab protesters (updated)

TEHRAN, 7 Dec 2022:

Iran has sentenced five more people to death for allegedly participating in the protests that have gripped the country for nearly three months, the country’s judiciary announced yesterday.

The convicted protesters are accused of fatally stabbing a member of the Basij – volunteers in Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard – at the beginning of November during a protest in the city of Karaj, near Tehran, said judiciary spokesman Masoud Setayeshi.

The punishments are to be carried out by hanging.

At a press conference, Setayeshi explained that another 11 people were given long prison sentences over the murder – adding to the more than 2,000 people who have been accused of various crimes during the demonstrations.

The number of people currently facing death sentences for their involvement in the protests is now 11.

In another blow to the social movement erupting in the country, the government is considering blocking the bank accounts of women who refuse to wear the hijab in public, parliamentarian Hossein Jalali said yesterday.

The measure would be part of new rules governing dress codes in public – which are unlikely to be relaxed, as many had hoped – following the recent dissolution of the country’s so-called morality police.

The congressman said they will inform women not covering their hair correctly “through text messages” when they are found guilty of breaking the law.

If the women fail to observe the rule after an initial warning, their bank accounts “may be blocked”, he explained.

Iran has seen violent protests since the death in custody of Mahsa Amini on Sept 16, after she was arrested by the morality police for not wearing her headscarf properly.

The protests have been met with a brutal crackdown by the government which has led to the death of 448 people including 60 children, according to the Norway-based Iran Human Rights.

Meanwhile, the sister of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has expressed hope the “tyranny that rules Iran” will be ousted soon as violent protests swept the nation for months.

In a letter published by her son Mahmoud Moradkhani – who currently lives in France – Badri Hoseini Khamenei prays “to see the victory of the people” in the Islamic republic.

Khamenei’s sister resides in Tehran. Her daughter Farideh Moradkhani was arrested in late November for criticising the Iranian leader.

Farideh Moradkhani, a well-known rights activist, has denounced the police crackdown against Iranian protesters. She was arrested when she went to the prosecutor’s office to serve a court order. She has been in prison in the past over her opposition to the Islamic republic.

Badri’s husband, Ali Tehrani, has also been in jail for his alleged anti-regime activities.

“The regime of the Islamic Republic of Khomeini and Ali Khamenei has brought nothing but suffering and oppression to Iran and the Iranians. The people of Iran deserve freedom and prosperity, and their uprising is legitimate and necessary to achieve their rights,” the supreme leader’s sister wrote in the letter.

“My brother (Khamenei) does not listen to the voice of the people and mistakenly considers that the voice of his mercenaries and money grabbers is the voice of the Iranian people.”

She said he had tried to take people’s concerns to her brother, but he did not listen.

“After seeing that he did not listen and continued the path of (Ayatollah) Khomeini by suppressing and killing innocent people, I cut off my relationship with him.

“I oppose my brother’s actions and express my sympathy for all the mothers who mourn the crimes of the regime – from the time of Khomeini to the current era of Ali Khamenei’s despotic caliphate.”

She said the Revolutionary Guards and Ali Khamenei’s mercenaries “must lay down their arms as soon as possible and unite with the people before it is too late.”

Music, alcohol, nightclubs, gambling, mixed sports, and sex outside marriage are not allowed in the Islamic republic.

Iran has also established gender segregation restrictions in certain areas to prevent men and women from working in the same places.

The curbs are harsher for women, who have to cover themselves in veils.

Women who do not wear headscarves are “naked,” said Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic revolution that brought seismic changes to Iran.