Iran to hold public trials for up to 2,000 detained in protests | Iran

Iran to hold public trials for up to 2,000 detained in protests | Iran

Iran’s judiciary has announced it will hold public trials for as many as 1,000 people detained during recent protests in Tehran alone – and more than a thousand others outside the capital – as international concern grew over Iran’s response to the protests that began the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after her arrest.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he was shocked by the number of innocent protesters who were illegally and forcibly arrested. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has already announced that she will ask the European Union to sanction the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization.

Canada, meanwhile, announced a fourth round of sanctions against senior Iranian officials and its law enforcement agents, whom Canada accuses of participating in the crackdown and arrest of unarmed protesters.

Ukraine, meanwhile, has formally requested that Iran’s national soccer team be banned from the World Cup, which begins next month after Iranian-made drones used by Russia to target civilian and infrastructure targets inside Ukraine.

Iran has admitted for the first time that it is in danger of being kicked out of the World Cup, which would be a devastating blow to the soccer-loving country. Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi said he would contact Qatar, the tournament’s hosts.

Ukraine said Iran – who will play England on November 21 – “is guilty of systematic human rights abuses, which is likely to be in breach of the Fifa Charter”.

Iran national football team
Iran’s national football team during a friendly match against Syria in Tehran last year. Ukraine has called for the national team to be banned from participating in the World Cup in Qatar. Photo: AFP/Getty

CEO of Shakhtar Donetsk Sergey Palkin called for Iran to be replaced by Ukraine at this year’s tournament. “While the Iranian leadership will be having fun watching their national team play in the World Cup, Ukrainians will be killed by Iranian drones and Iranian missiles,” he said on Twitter.

The latest signs of outside support for Iran’s protests led by women and students came as seats were continued at the universities and more than 500 civilians journalists they put their names in an internal petition demanding that the journalists who helped break the Mahsa Amini story be released from detention.

In a sign of justice being divided, Mohammad Ghobadlo, a protester who was arrested on charges of “corruption on the ground” after taking part in an anti-government rally, was sentenced to death after just one hearing, his mother said Monday.

“My son is only 22 years old and he is also sick. They have taken away his lawyer and are not allowing lawyers to enter the court,” Ghobadl’s mother said in a video posted online.

“They interrogated him without access to a lawyer and sentenced him to death after only one hearing. Is this Islamic justice? In what court do they sentence people to death after only one hearing? He will be executed soon. I am asking people to help,” she added in the video.

Security services launched a fierce crackdown on the mostly peaceful protests, killing at least 253 people, including 34 Iranians under the age of 18, according to a rights group. Several thousand people were arrested, many of whom were taken to special IRGC detention centers.

The Iranian elite, however, remains shared between those who want to treat the protests solely as the product of a well-conceived foreign conspiracy best stopped by repression, and those who say the unrest, now in its sixth week, reveals deep problems in Iranian society, including the mistrustful and stuffy official media that young Iranians are leaving dependent on western satellite channels.

Former Foreign Minister Javad Zarif appeared to side with those calling for talks, saying that opponents of dialogue, whatever their guise or slogan, seem to prefer violence.

An Iranian woman adjusts a headscarf
An Iranian woman adjusts a headscarf while walking down a street in Tehran. Several thousand people have been arrested since the protests began. Photo: Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA

The main state news agency IRNA reported that 1,000 detained protesters played a “central role” in the unrest. Each will be tried on their own for “subversive acts,” including attacks on security guards, burning public property and other charges.

“Those who intend to oppose the regime and overthrow it depend on foreigners and will be punished according to legal standards,” said Iran’s Justice Chief Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei, indicating that some protesters would be charged with collaborating with foreign governments.

Ejei argued that prosecutors tried to distinguish between angry Iranians – who were just trying to express their discontent in the streets – and those who wanted to topple the Islamic Republic. “Even among the agitators, it should be clarified who had the intention of opposing the system and subverting it,” he said.

The Iranian government must also deal with the aftermath of a series of trials, funerals and commemorations on the 40th day as the death toll rises. In addition to the two arrested journalists, attention on Monday was focused on Hassan Ronagi, Hossein Ronagi’s brother, who said that after 41 days, his parents were finally allowed to meet Hossein in prison. He says Hossein was still on hunger strike and “wasn’t feeling well”. Soon after the start of the protest, Ronagi was dragged into a police car.

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