A total of 400 people have been sentenced to prison terms of up to 10 years by courts in the Iranian capital Tehran and surrounding areas, on charges relating to the protests that have engulfed the country for several months.
Ali Alghasi-Mehr, the head of Tehran province’s court, stated that judges had issued the verdicts to “rioters” — an official designation for any those who oppose Iran’s strict theocratic authority.
Alghasi-Mehr was quoted on the Mizan Online website of the judiciary as saying, “One hundred and sixty people were sentenced to between five and 10 years in prison, 80 people to two to five years and 160 people to up to two years.”
Tehran is one of the country’s 31 provinces, thus the total number of prison sentences is likely to be significantly greater. Since mid-September, UN human rights experts believe that over 14,000 people have been arrested across the country.
Protests erupted across Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish-Iranian woman who was allegedly beaten to death by the country’s morality police in September. The movement sparked by Amini’s death has since evolved into a wider call for wholesale political changes.
Iranian authorities have responded forcefully to the unrest, with the UN office of the high commissioner for human rights reporting that more than 300 people, including at least 40 children, have been killed during the protests.