Iran sentences anti-government protester to death

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran’s Revolutionary Court has sentenced an anti-government protester to death and handed down prison sentences for five others, state media said on Sunday, amid ongoing unrest in the country.

The ruling likely marks the first death sentence in trials for those arrested for taking part in protests that have swept across Iran in recent weeks demanding an end to clerical rule.

Mizan, a news site linked to Iran’s justice system, said the death sentence followed the accusation of setting fire to a government building. The five prison terms ranged from five to 10 years and alleged violations of national security and public order.

Mizan said separate branches of the Revolutionary Court issued the verdicts but did not share further details about the protesters on trial, who can appeal the rulings.

The court was established following the 1979 Islamic revolutions and is known for meting out harsh sentences to those who oppose Iran’s religious leaders.

Iran has already issued indictments against hundreds of detained protesters, saying it would hold public trials for them.

The anti-government protests entered their eighth week and were sparked by the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested after allegedly violating the country’s strict dress code for women.

Judicial authorities have announced charges against hundreds of people in other Iranian provinces. Some were charged with “corruption on earth” and “war against God”, offenses punishable by death.

Security forces, including paramilitary volunteers from the Revolutionary Guards, violently suppressed the protests, killing more than 300 people, including dozens of children, according to Oslo-based Iran Human Rights. Iranian authorities say more than 40 members of the security forces have also been killed in the nationwide unrest.

Although the protests initially focused on ending the compulsory headscarf, or hijab, in Iran, they have since morphed into one of the biggest challenges to ruling clerics since the chaotic years following the revolution. Islam of 1979.

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