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Former Lawmaker In Iran Being Tried For Voicing Criticism

Parvaneh Salahshouri is an Iranian sociologist and reformist politician who was a lawmaker representing Tehran. FILE PHOTO

A preliminary court in Iran has found former outspoken female member of parliament guilty, and soon she will be put on trial.

The case against Ms. Parvaneh Salahshouri, with numerous plaintiffs, and after preliminary investigations, has been referred to the court, Fars news agency reported June 14.

Based on the indictment, Parvaneh Salahshouri, 55, is charged with "spreading lies intended to disturb public opinion," and "propaganda against the Islamic Republic regime."

Ms. Salahshouri was initially summoned to the Public Prosecutor's Office on February 1, 2020 and was released on bail. In a tweet on Sunday, Salahshouri described the primary verdict as the "outcome of being people's representative".

A number of local media including the state-run Iran Students News Agency (ISNA), reported that Salahshouri's tweets and some of her interviews have led to her prosecution. Salahshouri, who is notorious for not mincing her words, had frequently lambasted the Islamic Republic and its style of governance.

In a post published on her Telegram channel, Salahshouri said in January 2020 that the IRGC and "certain other entities" had lodged complaints with the court against her. She maintained that the charges against her violated Articles 84 and 86 of the Islamic Republic Constitution, which allow legislators "to speak about all affairs of the country".

Earlier, Salahshouri had made some fiery speeches lambasting the regime. In one of her speeches in a public session of parliament, she strongly criticized the "objectionable governance of the country and grim despotism and the ever-increasing powers of parallel, unelected centers of power." Furthermore, she had called the Islamic Republic's system as a "rogue tyranny".

Referring to the widespread mid-November anti-regime protests in 22 out of 31 provinces of Iran, Salahshouri tweeted, "People expressed their protests, but received bullets and detentions in response."

Moreover, Salahshouri disclosed that several children among the protesters were shot dead by the security forces in the crackdown. She also called for a "truth-finding committee" to investigate the killing of protesters including children, such as 14-year-old Nikta Esfandani who was directly shot to death in the west of Tehran.

In the November 2019 anti-regime rallies held in more than 100 cities in Iran, hundreds of protesters were killed by police and security forces.

Salahshouri, who garnered almost two million votes to represent the capital city, Tehran (Mya 2016-May 2020), announced in the final weeks that she would not seek reelection.

"Given the structures that restrict Parliament's authority, ignoring the people's demands and wishes, improper supervision of the Guardian Council over elections, the mid-November events, and despite what I owe to the people, I have decided not to run in the next election," Salahshouri said.