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Brother Of Anti-Hijab Activist Sentenced To Eight Years In Iran

Alireza Alinejad. FILE PHOTO

A revolutionary court in Iran’s capital Tehran has sentenced the brother of an exiled anti-compulsory hijab activist to eight years in jail.

The Islamic Republic intelligence agents arrested Masih Alinejad's brother, Alireza, in Tehran in September last year, in what was labeled by rights groups and activists as a retaliatory measure against his sister who lives in the United States and has a following among women and anti-hijab activists in Iran.

Masih Alinejad, the founder of "White Wednesdays" anti-compulsory hijab movement, tweeted, "Despite months of pressure and keeping my brother in solitary confinement, the criminals (Islamic Republic authorities) who know nothing but execution and hostage-taking, failed to force him to disown me and atone."

In another tweet Alinejad accused the Islamic Republic of trying to use her brother to lure her to Turkey and kidnap her. Last year, Iranian intelligence kidnapped another foreign-based activist in Iraq.

Alireza Alinejad received five years jail for "assembly and collusion for action against the country's security," two years for "insulting the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader," and one year behind bars for "propaganda against the regime," his attorney, Saeed Dehqan tweeted on Wednesday, July 15.

Amnesty International had earlier sharply criticized the arrest. Alinejad’s verdict is subject to appeal, but if security organs decide to keep him in prison, an appeal will not be successful.

"Arresting the relatives of an activist in an attempt to intimidate her into silence is a despicable and cowardly move," Amnesty International's Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Philip Luther, said in a statement on September 25, 2019.

"Instead of harassing and detaining the family members of Masih Alinejad, Iran's authorities should release them immediately and end their campaign of repression against women," Philip Luther asserted.

Masih Alinejad-Ghomi, 43, is a self-exiled Iranian journalist-author, political activist and women's rights advocate, based in New York. She currently works as a presenter/producer at VOA Persian Service, and active in other foreign-based Persian media.