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Tehran Prosecutor Says 150 Protesters Indicted

Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi (3rd R). File photo

Tehran’s Prosecutor, Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi says 150 of the protesters arrested during the unrest in late December 2017 and early January have been indicted.

Dolatabadi added that four protesters are still in custody.

Speaking at a meeting with his deputies at his headquarters on Monday February 5, Dolatabadi said that “Not everyone arrested in the streets has been accused of taking part in protests,” reported the Tehran Prosecutor’s Office website.

Last week when he spoke to journalist, he said 10 protesters were in custody.

No independent source has corroborated or ruled out the figures released by Dolatabadi. The Iranian Judiciary does not allow international observers to visit Iranian prisons.

A senior Human Rights Watch researcher has recently called on the members of Iranian Parliament to ask the authorities to allow visits to prisons by independent Iranian and foreign inspectors.

Iran has not allowed any UN human rights inspector to visit its prisons since 2005.

Sina Ghanbari was a young Iranian protester who was arrested during recent protests and died in the quarantine section of Evin Prison on January 7, 2018
Sina Ghanbari was a young Iranian protester who was arrested during recent protests and died in the quarantine section of Evin Prison on January 7, 2018

Tehran MP Alireza Rahimi had said last week that five thousand protesters were arrested during the unrest that overwhelmed Iran in late December and early January; and that 500 of them remain in custody.

Rahimi who recently paid a visit to Tehran’s Evin prison along with another 10 MPs, wrote on his social media Telegram page on Sunday February 5 that the MPs were able to speak to “only a few of the remaining prisoners.”

Rahimi also refuted claims made by law enforcement that they had a video clip of Sina Ghanbari, a detained protester, committing suicide. Authorities had also announced that they showed the film to visiting MPs.

However, Rahimi disputed this claim, saying that what they were shown was not a footage of suicide. They saw a man looking like Ghanbari alive, with a plastic bag in his hands and then footage from two hours later, showing a dead person on the floor.

Sina, 22, died in custody, but the authorities claim that he committed suicide in jail.

At least five other jailed protesters in Tehran, Arak, Sanndaj and Dezful were also reported “dead in custody.”

The International Campaign for Human Rights has said that most of protesters who were arrested during recent unrests were not given a chance to be represented by lawyers or to meet with their families while in custody. The ICHR added that inmates could face the charges of “fighting God and the saints” which could lead to death sentences.

Widespread protests against economic hardship and lack of freedoms first started in Mashhad in northeastern Iran in late December 2017 and soon spread all over the country and turned into fierce political demonstrations against Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Tehran’s military intervention in the region. Demonstrators also expressed support for Pahlavi dynasty that reigned in Iran for over half of the 20th century. At least 25 demonstrators were killed in the streets by regime’s security forces.