Iran, hit by protests, has sentenced four to jail for calling a strike

The Iranian judiciary on Sunday announced prison sentences of up to ten years for people who called for strikes as part of a months-long protest movement.

It is the first time the judiciary has announced prison sentences for such incitement during the nationwide protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini in custody in September.

The judiciary’s news website Mizan Online said the four defendants had been sentenced to between one and 10 years in prison. They have not been identified and can still appeal the sentences.

Activists on social media had called for three-day nationwide strikes beginning December 5 in support of the movement that began with the death of 22-year-old Amini. She had been arrested by the vice squad for allegedly breaking the strict dress code for women.

Mojtaba Ghahramani, judiciary chief of Iran’s southern province of Hormozgan, said the four were mainly convicted of “inciting motorists to strike” and vandalism. He was quoted by Mizan.

According to Ghahramani, “None of the defendants are drivers or have anything to do with the transport sector.”

“One of the defendants was sentenced to 10 years in prison and another to five years in prison for forming a group aimed at disrupting national security,” Ghahramani said.

Two others were sentenced to a year in prison and a fine for “disturbing public order and breaking truck windows,” he said.

On December 5, local media reported that authorities sealed off a jewelry store and restaurant in Tehran owned by soccer legend Ali Daei after he supported protesters’ calls for a strike.

Iranian authorities have mostly referred to the protests as “riots” and blame hostile foreign nations for fomenting the unrest.

Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands arrested since September 16, officials said, including members of the security forces.

Four men, including two on Saturday, were executed for killing and wounding members of the security forces in connection with the protests.

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