The Iranian Judiciary handed down long prison sentences to two protesters arrested during the November 2019 nationwide protests.
Jalal Namdari, from Kermanshah, and Saeed Khaledi, from Paveh, were sentenced to a total of 13 years in prison for taking part in the anti-regime protests that sprung up following the government’s overnight tripling of fuel prices.
Khaledi will serve three years for “acting against the national security and cooperation with dissident opposition groups” and another year for “spreading propaganda against the establishment”. While Namdari will serve five years on the charge of “acting against the national security and cooperation with the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK)” and another three for “assembling and collusion for crimes by participating and encouraging people to participate in the November protests”.
Namdari, currently held in Kermanshah’s Diesel Abad prison, was arrested on December 30, 2020, by the Revolutionary Guards’ (IRGC) intelligence unit. Khaledi was arrested just after and released on bail until the verdict.
This comes at a time of increased worry over human rights abuses of the many thousands arrested during the November 2019 protests, which doesn’t even account for the 1,500 killed by the security forces, as they opened fire on huge crowds.
Amnesty International reported in September 2020: “[Our] research shows that many of the arrests took place during the five days of protests, but, in the days and weeks that followed, the pattern of mass arrests continued, particularly in provinces that had suffered high death tolls in a context in which the authorities had stationed significant numbers of security vehicles and personnel in public places to deter further protests.”
Eight high ranking IRGC figures and three Iranian prisons were sanctioned by the European Union on Monday for their role in the November 2019 protests. This included Revolutionary Guards head Hossein Salami who, according to the EU, “took part in the sessions that resulted in the orders to use lethal force to suppress the November 2019 protests [meaning he] bears responsibility for serious human rights violations in Iran”.
Maryam Rajavi, the President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), welcomed the sanctions saying that “firmness is the only language Iran’s ruling mullahs understand”. She went on to say that the IRGC and Intelligence Ministry (MOIS) should be sanctioned as a whole, with their assets in Europe expelled.
She wrote on Twitter: “They’re not political refugees or ordinary citizens, but MOIS spies and terrorists.”