TEHRAN: The revolutionary court of Tehran on Sunday sentenced to death a sixth person, the judicial authority’s news website said, in connection with months of protests in Iran.

The defendant was found guilty of “pulling out a knife with the intention of killing, spreading terror, creating insecurity in society during recent riots”, Mizan Online reported.

The court also found the defendant guilty of “moharebeh”, which means waging “war against God”, it added.

Five others have recently been sentenced to death in connection with the protests, triggered by the death of young Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini after her arrest for an alleged contravention of the Islamic republic’s strict dress code for women.

Authorities in Iran describe the protests as “riots” and accuse the country’s Western foes of fomenting them. The sentences can be appealed in front of the Supreme Court.

Four protesters killed

Iran’s clerical rulers have stepped up suppression of persistent anti-government protests in the country’s Kurdish region, deploying troops and killing at least four demonstrators on Sunday, social media posts and rights groups said.

Videos on social media showed a convoy of military vehicles with heavily armed troops, purportedly in the western city of Mahabad. The sounds of heavy weaponry could be heard in several other videos.

The Norway-based human rights group Hengaw said military helicopters carried members of the widely feared Revolutionary Guards to quell the protests in the Sunni-dominated Kurdish city of Mahabad.

Prominent Sunni cleric Molavi Abdolhamid, a powerful dissenting voice in the Islamic Republic, called on security forces to refrain from shooting at people in Mahabad.

“Disturbing news is emerging from the Kurdish areas, especially from Mahabad ... pressure and crackdown will lead to further dissatisfaction. Officers should refrain from shooting at people,” Abdolhamid tweeted. Hengaw said at least four protesters were killed in the Kurdish area. The widely-followed activist account 1500Tasvir said a 16-year-old student and a school teacher were killed in the Kurdish city of Javanrud. The details could not be independently confirmed.

Confirming the unrest in Kurdish region, Iran’s state media said calm had been restored in the area, but activists and Hengaw said on Twitter that “the resistance” continued in several Kurdish cities.

“In (the Kurdish city of) Marivan repressive forces have opened fire at people,” Hengaw said.

The uprising has turned into a popular revolt by furious Iranians from all layers of society, posing one of the boldest challenges to the clerical leaders since the 1979 Islamic revolution that swept them to power.

Film award dedicated to women

Iranian director Emad Aleebrahim Dehkordi won the Etoile d’Or top award at the Marrakech International Film Festival late on Saturday for his debut feature “A Tale of Shemroon” and dedicated his prize to “all the women of Iran”.

The film explores the life of a young Iranian living in Shemroon, north of Tehran, who gets pulled deeper into the drug trade while trying to make some easy money through his connections with Tehran’s wealthy youth.

“I want to pay tribute to all those who lost their lives fighting to regain the freedom to be themselves,” said Dehkordi, referring to the civil unrest in Iran sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in September.

“I dedicate my award to all the women of Iran and to the young generation who risk their lives for freedom,” added the 43-year-old director.

A crackdown on the protests over the death of Amini has left at least 378 dead, according to a new report released Saturday by the Norway-based Iran Human Rights group.

Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2022

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