The Iranian regime has sentenced two young men to 10 and a half years in prison for dancing in a video in support of the protests.

The Iranian regime has sentenced two young men to 10 and a half years in prison for dancing in a video in support of the protests.

Amir Mohammad Ahmadi and Astiaj Haguigui are two Iranian bloggers, aged 22 and 21 respectively. In October, during protests against the ayatollahs’ regime, they shared a video on social media of them dancing together in front of the iconic monument in Tehran’s Azadi Square (Freedom Square), a gesture that was interpreted as a show of support for the protesters. The young woman did not wear the veil that is still mandatory in Iran. On November 1, days after that 16-second recording was released, the two were arrested. This Sunday, Section 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced them each to ten and a half years in prison for “inciting corruption, [ilegal] and conspiracy intended to disrupt national security and disseminate propaganda,” Iranian media-in-exile such as IranWire reported Monday. Ahmadi and Haguigui were also barred from engaging in internet activities and were barred from leaving the country for two years after being released from prison.

In Iran, women are forbidden to dance in the street, especially if they are with a man, even if it is an engaged couple, such as Ahmadi and Haguigui. However, IranWire links this harsh sentence, not the ban, to the crackdown on protests that began with the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody on Sept. 16, three days after the 22-year-old was arrested in Tehran by moral police. who said she was accused of wearing the veil incorrectly. Since then, according to the Oslo-based Iranian NGO Iran Human Rights, at least 488 Iranians have been killed in the crackdown, while more than 18,000 protesters have been arrested and at least four executed.

Ahmadi and Haguigui were arrested by plainclothes police on Nov. 1, beaten and transferred to Ward 209 of Tehran’s Evin Prison, known for housing political prisoners and controlled by Iran’s intelligence ministry, IranWire reports. Numerous testimonials from former prisoners of these facilities describe the existence of a torture chamber in which prisoners are subjected to electric current or other punishment, for example over long periods.

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After more than four months of popular protests under the motto “Woman, Life and Freedom” and against the Islamic Republic – which celebrated its 44th anniversary on February 11 in the repression of demonstrations, at least for now. Only one small demonstration took place in Tehran on Sunday, as opposed to dozens of demonstrations across the country reported weeks ago, according to Critical Threats’ Iran crisis monitoring website. In previous days, this site had reported small protests in other parts of Iran, but for economic rather than political reasons.

However, according to organizations such as Iran Human Rights, the repression no longer took place in the streets, but in the courts, especially the Revolutionary Courts, a parallel system to the regular system established in 1979, which aims to protect the regime. Dissidents and critical journalists are often tried in their chambers and detainees during demonstrations are now paraded before their judges. International organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch believe that these courts are the battering rams of oppression in Iran and that the processes taking place there lack sufficient safeguards.

Amir Ahmadi and Astiaj Haguigui were convicted by one of these courts, Court No. 15 of the Iranian capital, which denied them the right to choose a lawyer and also rejected their bail application, according to IranWire.

The presiding judge of this court is Abolqasem Salavati, nicknamed “the hanged judge” by Iranian human rights activists because of the ease with which death sentences are carried out by hanging. Other methods of execution, such as crucifixion and stoning, remain legal. Salavati signed the death warrant against British-Iranian national Alireza Ajbari on January 14 for “corruption in the country”, among other serious charges. Both the European Union and the United States sanctioned this judge in 2011 and 2019 respectively for alleged serious human rights violations, namely the violation of procedural safeguards and the right of defense of the accused.

Source: La Neta Neta