The heir to the last Shah of Iran, Prince Reza Pahlavi, has condemned the sentencing of 10 activists to a total of 100 years in prison and called on the international community to support them.
"Even in the midst of a pandemic, the spread of which it enabled, the repressive regime in Iran is continuing its campaign against the Iranian people by sentencing 10 activists to 100 years in prison," the exiled Prince said in a tweet in English on Wednesday and added: "The world must support these dissidents, not appease those who imprison them".
Calling the sentencing "unjust", Prince Reza Pahlavi in another tweet in Persian on the same day said the sentences must be dropped. He called on Iranians, human rights organizations and the media to "be the voice of these fighters" who he called "civil [society] activists".
The ten male and female defendants found guilty by Revolutionary Courts were arrested by security forces in various cities including Tehran, Qom and Gorgan in a series of operations lasting from May to August 2019. They were also charged with supporting monarchy and Prince Reza Pahlavi, mainly on the basis of evidence gathered from their social media accounts.
Branch 36 of the Court of Appeals of Tehran Province on May 19 upheld the sentences passed on the defendants by Revolutionary Courts which sentenced them to a total of 100 years.
The charges brought against the defendants included "assembly and collusion against national security", "propaganda against the system" as well as "insulting the founder of the Islamic Revolution [Ayatollah Khomeini] and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei".
Abolqassem Salavati and Mohammad Moqisseh, the two judges who sentenced the defendants, were sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department in December 2019 for their role in "miscarriage of justice in show trials" of dissidents among other things.
Prince Reza Pahlavi describes the Islamic Republic as a "failed state" that lacks legitimacy and has repeatedly called on Iranians to recognize the urgency of eliminating it. He also advocates "maximum pressure" on the regime and "maximum support" for Iranians by the international community.